Simply pulling them inside when it looks like snow is not the best way to treat your foliage. Use a gentle touch and your plants will stay healthy for years to come.
Houseplants such as ferns, begonias and parlor palms can spend a lazy summer outside soaking up the sun and letting the warm winds blow over their leaves. Bring them in before a cold snap. In fact, making the transition before daylight savings time is a good rule of thumb. If the evening temperature starts to dip into the 40s, or even low 50s at night, you should consider bringing your babies back inside.
Get Ready for the Move
A week before making the transition start:
– Soaking the plants. Generously watering the plants will wash away bugs and clean the outside leaves well.
– Lessening the light. If possible, move the potted plants to a shadier location outside at least a week before moving indoors. This will help prevent extensive leaf loss from shock when you do bring them inside. Expect for plants to do some shedding, but prevent a massive exodus by diligently shading beforehand.
– Treat for pests. Get rid of aphids, ants, spider wigs and mealybugs by soaking and by applying neem oil. Mix 2 tablespoons of neem with 2 teaspoons of dishwashing liquid detergent, pour into a gallon of water. Fill spray bottles and spritz the plants several times before moving.
You can also apply a soil insecticide to kill larvae hidden in the plants soil.
– Groom plants. Prune while still outdoors. Remove dead leaves, pinch off any yellow leaves, and if necessary repot into a larger container. But only repot if the plant appears to be root-bound. Spring is generally better for repotting. If you see a white web of roots that appears to have replaced much of the soil or is poking out of the bottom holes of the pot, you can move into a larger pot with fresh soil before moving indoors.
Reduce watering and forgo fertilizer until spring. Most plants are not in an active growth cycle from November to March, so reducing these two can keep your plants healthy. Position plants away from heating vents and avoid letting the leaves touch the cold window glass, both can damage the plant. Bringing them in before you need to crank the furnace is best. Let the plants accustom themselves to the dry indoor air slowly.
Tips for Moving Outdoor Flowering Plants Indoors.
You can also move flowering outdoor plants indoors to save them for next season. These plants will go into dormancy if you place in a cool area like the basement or garage with a temperature of around 50-60 degrees. Take a hands-off approach to watering as well. Only add water if the soil is very dry. To transition back outdoors in the spring, gradually start watering more and prune slightly to remove dead leaves and branches.