The first thing you should know when considering bringing your potted plants indoors for winter is that not all plants can be grown indoors. When a plant goes from a warm, sunny, breezy environment to a dim, dry, stagnant one like the atmosphere inside your home, it can suffer from various forms of shock. This can quickly kill a healthy plant. Luckily there are some good tips for bringing plants indoors and keeping them healthy through winter.
To avoid the sudden shock of an environment change, you need to slowly acclimatize your plants to the house. Start by moving them to more shaded areas so they can get used to lower sunlight. Plants should generally be brought inside when the overnight temperature reaches 45 degrees or below. Some plants are hardy enough to survive a light frost, but it’s better to bring them in earlier.
Now comes the fun part; trying to keep them alive and flowering exactly as they were outside. You need to find ways of working within the space of your house and take advantage of the features it already has. Make room for plants on surfaces that get the most natural light through the windows. Speaking of windows—clean them! Believe it or not, they might be dirty, and every little ounce of sunlight counts when it comes to wintering plants indoors.
Before you bring them in, check for pests and disease. Aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites love the indoor environment and will quickly spread from plant to plant in the confined space of your home. One popular home remedy is to dunk plants (pot and all) into a large bucket of soapy water, killing existing bugs and keeping plants protected. If a plant is infected, you may have to bite the bullet and let it die this year. Better to keep the plants who are doing well safe than risk one diseased plant amongst their midsts.
If you love all your plants, but some are too large to house indoors over the wintertime, consider taking cuttings from these plants and cultivating them inside. They take up less space this way and there’s no shock from moving indoors. With proper care, these plants can root well in winter and be ready for the patio come spring.
Two additional areas of consideration are humidity and watering. Inside it tends to be dry and the lack of humidity can lead to yellowing and wilting leaves. Add a humidifier to the space where most of your plants are or make your own humidifier trays with pebbles and water. Speaking of water, plants naturally need less of it in winter. Even if you bring them indoors. Many plants go into a sort of hibernation in the winter and overwatering them can throw off this natural cycle. Only add water when the top two inches of soil are dry and be sure to add it in moderate amounts.
Geraniums, fuchsia, begonias, and passion flower are the plants most likely to flourish indoors. Many vegetables and spices can transition indoors too. Tomato plants will keep producing if brought indoors and cared for over winter.
You don’t have to say goodbye to your plants when winter rolls around. Follow the proper guidelines and you can successfully enjoy your plants both indoors and outdoors for seasons to come.