Moving your plants inside in the fall requires some preparation. Not only must you take measures to get rid of any insects or disease, if you are moving the entire plant, it needs time to adjust to the conditions inside the home, as well.
Evaluate Your Plants Before Moving Them Inside
Evaluate your plants carefully and decide which plants you can conveniently add to your home for the winter. If you are like me, you probably want to bring them all inside, but that may not be practical.
Take Cuttings or Slips From Large Fleshy Plants
Take slips from large fleshy plants, such as coleus, impatiens and begonias. Although you can bring the entire plant inside, if space is limited, a few slips may be the best option.
Clip 3 to 6 inch sections off the growing ends of the branches. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cuttings in a glass or vase of water. Place in a warm area that receives bright indirect light. Change the water if it becomes stagnant or add new water each day to keep the water level consistent. New roots form within a week and are typically ready to replant in two to three weeks.
Cut Back Large Plants Before Bringing Them Inside
If you simply must bring the entire plant inside, get out the clippers and give it a good trimming. Be ruthless and cut them back to 3 to 4 inches from the soil. Although you may hesitate to trim that beautiful plant, cutting it back improves both health and appearance. Plants that are moved inside in the fall tend to lose their leaves and become a bit scraggly looking. By cutting them back, you encourage new full growth. Within a few weeks you plant will show improved appearance and health.
Allow Plants Time to Adjust by Placing in a Cool Room
Large plants such as poinsettia, ornamental trees and those that require several years to produce full growth should be brought inside before the temperature begins to drop at night. Move them to a cool area of the home and allow them to adjust for a week or two before returning them to your living area.
Inspect Your Plants for Insects
Inspect plants for any signs of insects before bringing them inside. A quick wash with a little dish detergent and water typically controls insects and give you the peace of mind that you are not bringing insects inside.
Check the soil, drainage holes and the sides of the pots for any insects. Remove the drainage tray and inspect the drainage holes. Earwigs, slugs and other crawly creatures often hide in this area.
Repot Plants, If Necessary
Repot plants, if necessary. Although repotting is typically recommended in the spring, it can be done in the fall, as well.
Place the plants in the appropriate lighting and water when the soil is dry. An application of water-soluble fertilizer will help your plants adjust, but remember to cease fertilizing in October and allow your plants to rest through the winter. Resume fertilizing in the spring when a new flush of growth appears.
By planning ahead many of your outside plants will thrive in your home during the winter, adding refreshing green foliage in the midst of dark winter days.
University of Illinois Extension. Houseplants
Texas Agricultural Services. House Plants