The Q&A Archives: Info on keeping houseplants and bulbs

Question: Hi! This is probably an unusual question,,, but here goes.

I've read that some people move houseplants outside in the summer. Some even bury the pots in the garden.
When it is time to bring them in, in the fall, they say to spray the foliage for bugs. I understand this. The problem is, if you bury the pot in the garden, the foliage might get bugs, but also,
those little black beetles or worms, etc. get into the dirt part of the pot. I would love to bury a few houseplants, like Bromeliad in their pots in the soil, but I am afraid of bringing in bugs in the dirt part of the pot.
Is there any solution to this? I can take care of the foliage, but what about the dirt part in the pot???
Also, I would like to do the same with my cannas. Thanks for any help! Dorian

Answer: It's not an unusual question and you have a point - insects could very well decide to make a home in your potted plants if you decided to bury the pots in the soil. The idea behind burying the pots in the soil is not only to make the garden look nice (you're disguising the pots) but also to protect the roots from hot sunshine that may hit the pot and bake the roots. However, there's no reason that you cannot leave the plants above ground, as long as you shield the pots from the sun's rays. In the case of bromeliads, this shouldn't be a problem because they grow well in the shade. In the case of cannas, where they'll need sunshine, you'll have to be creative and find a way to protect the pots from direct sunlight. One way to do this would be to set the pot in a larger pot and stuff some insulating material between the two pots.

If it's any reassurance, I've been burying pots of houseplants outdoors in my garden soil for many, many growing seasons and I've never brought in any hitchhikers in the soil because I use potting soil and earthworms, beetles, etc. don't find it nearly as hospitible as garden soil. Just a thought....

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