Many houseplant owners move their plants outside in the summer so they can enjoy the sun and air. But because most houseplants are tropical plants, they must be brought back inside just before the weather turns cold.
Bringing plants inside for the winter is not as easy as simply moving their pots from one place to another, you have to be careful not to put them into shock and you must check for bugs like aphids and spider mites. These bugs can hitchhike on the leaves and infest all your houseplants.
It is very important to acclimatize your houseplant to environmental changes from outside to inside. Most houseplants cannot stand temperatures below 45F.Once the temperature outside reaches 50F or less at night your houseplant must begin the process to come back into the house.
First start by bringing them in at night for the first few days and out in the day. Gradually over two weeks increase the amount of time the plant spends indoors, until it is indoors full time. Remember they won’t need as much water as they did outdoors.
The dry winter air inside from heating can wreck havoc on plants, so a well-lit bathroom or laundry room can be a perfect place. Sunny windows are good locations, but avoid letting the leaves touch a cold window or they could become damaged. Also keep out of drafts and away from heating vents and hot radiators.
Check for aphids or spider mites, even if there are no visible signs of them, it is best to spray in case they are hiding in the soil. You can use horticultural oil, which you can put on with a soft cloth or spray with insecticidal soap; this will block the airways of the insect. To make this yourself, you will need 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of soap. It must be plain dish soap, not anything that is marked anti-bacterial or detergent soap. Add the soap and water together and pour into a spray bottle. Try the mixture by spraying directly on your plants where there are insects, and make sure you label the bottle so you don’t forget what it is. Spray when it is not hot as it can burn the leaves because water droplets can make a magnifying glass that burns the leaves.
If you are the proud owner of a Hibiscus or Mandevilla plant you will definitely want to try to bring them in as the thought of them going to waste outside would be intolerable. The Hibiscus needs light and warmth. A few hours of direct sun a day in a south or west-facing window is good, but avoid any drafts from doors and don’t over water it during the winter.
The Mandevilla needs similar treatment. Don’t expect it to have new blooms; you are just trying to maintain it for next summer. Prune the plant back to twelve inches above the soil line. Then, let the plant run on the dry side, and give it a small amount of organic fertilizer.
Geraniums are also another plant that does well inside in a nice sunny window.
Hopefully we will still enjoy this great weather for a while. And look forward to those cooler nights to come with your beautiful plants.