The Q&A Archives: Mosquito Plants Inside For The Winter

Question: For the past three years after the end of the outdoor growing season, and before the first frost I have tried to bring my potted mosquito plants indoors to grow. I have been unsuccessful. They were large healthy plants when I brought them indoors. I have added a "grow" light to provide additional light and I do continue to water. The plants usually start out dropping a few of the outer leaves and by Christmas they are dead. What can I do? I am trying to have much larger plants available for my patio areas next summer and have yet to be successful.

I would appreciate any information that you might be able to offer.

Answer: Although I am not certain what the problem is, I have a couple of suggestions. One is to begin by acclimating them to the lower light level indoors by moving them to shadier locations outdoors beginning several weeks before you plant to bring them inside. Check them too very carefully for any signs of pests because these can go into a population boom once the plants are protected indoors. Next, try to keep them in a cool (sixty degrees or so) sunny location indoors and place them on a pebble tray of water to try to keep the humidity level up. Since they will probably slow their growth you may need to water and fertilize them less in winter, especially if they are kept cool. If you use the grow lights and they stay in active growth yo may need to water them a bit more. In my experience with scented geraniums ( relatives) trimming them back hard in the late summer helps make their size more manageable when they come indoors. Then I also make more plants by rooting the trimmings. I may also take the opportunity to repot them if they have outgrown their space over the summer. Sometimes it is easier to overwinter the new plants and discard the old ones. In either case by spring they usually need to be trimmed back again since this encourages bushiness and helps them grow lots of new foliage during the spring growth spurt. remember to acclimate them to the sun gradually in spring, too. Good luck with your plants this time around!

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