Bring the Houseplants Insiteadmin
Bring the Houseplants In!
Yes! It’s time to bring the houseplants in from the outdoors! Once the temperature drops down to the single digits, nearing that first frost, it is time to bring them in. Even one frost can do a lot of damage, so it is very important to pay close attention to fall temperatures. This can always be a bit tricky, so I recommend that people treat the soil a week to two weeks before they bring the plants in. This way they can avoid bringing any creepy crawlies into the house. The best product to use for this: Diatomaceous Earth, a natural organism from the ocean, which is a very fine powder that will kill any soft-bodied insects but will not harm your pets.
When the plants are first brought indoors, it is a good idea to isolate them and check them regularly for any signs of insects such as mealie bugs, aphids, or spider mites. If you have a spare room, that would be the perfect location to isolate your plants for at least two weeks and treat them for any bugs you find, keeping them away from any other plants you have in the house. Don’t forget to wash your hands after every time you handle the plants. Most of these bugs are small enough that you may not even notice that you are spreading them from plant to plant.
After a couple of weeks of isolation, the plants can now be moved safely into the rest of the house along with your other plants. At this time of year, plant growth slows down, so the requirements for watering and feeding are reduced from the peak of the summer. I do recommend that fertilizing continue year-round because your plants still require nutrients, although at a reduced rate. Continue to fertilize at the recommended dosage, although it may be every other watering as opposed to every time you water. You may water once without feeding, and then two to three weeks later, water again with fertilizer.
The number one reason that house plants die is overwatering or underwatering. We seem to get into a routine of watering in the hot, dry summer months with temperatures in the thirties when we see plants and root growth at a faster rate filling the pot and plants drying out. Water requirements drop by 50%–60% once the plants are brought indoors. There are always exceptions, of course, depending on how your house is heated and how close your plants are to a heat source.
The number two reason that house plants fail is when people believe that moving the plant indoors is also a time to transplant into a bigger pot with new soil. When the plant is slowing down, this is the worst time to give it more space and more room to hold water longer, which can cause the roots to rot and kill the plant. Most house plants like to be tight in a pot. This means that the roots spread from one side of the pot to the other, completely filling that pot. These conditions cause your plants to grow the best. The best time to repot your plants would be in the spring when the plant is visibly coming back to life and increasing in growth.
We are often asked for advice concerning houseplants in low-light situations such as office buildings or north-facing locations. It’s pretty easy to choose plants for these locations, although you should research each plant to find out what the requirements are. The one guideline to use is the color of the leaves. The darker green the leaf, the less light the plant requires. The more variegated the leaves, the more color that’s in the leaves, the more light that plant will require.
Here are some suggestions for plants in low-light areas:
- Fiddle-leaf figs
If you are in an office or in a room that has no natural light whatsoever, you will have to use grow lights because, unfortunately, there is no plant that will survive in a room that has no natural light. Even when using grow lights, you should stick to the suggestions for houseplants which will thrive in low-light conditions.
We also get many questions this time of year about citrus plants. These plants are not available very often as we usually only receive shipments twice a year in March and August. When they do come in, we sell out very quickly. We will cover information about those plants later on as they become available.
As always at Blomidon, we wish you a wonderful season, and welcome you to call us or drop in to the nursery with questions or concerns about your gardening needs. And remember to protect your houseplants from the cold. It is time for them to come indoors!