Bringing Plants Inside for Winter – What to Know

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Bringing plants inside for Winter can save the masses but not without careful consideration to prevent plant shock.

Most plants are tropical plants that love being outdoors. Many plant owners will allow their plants to soak in the lovely summer weather and bring them indoors before the cooler seasons hit. Moving plants inside is not as simple as relocating a pot; you must acclimate your plant to the indoors if they are used to bright sunny summer weather.

When temperatures at night start to fall before 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to start creating your strategy for bringing your beloved plants indoors.

These are the steps to take to relocate your plants indoors successfully.

Decide Which Plants You Are Bringing Indoors

Succulents, herbs, perennials, and some tropical plants will not survive outside during the Winter months; opt to move these plants indoors before moving on to other options. Typically, the only plants you want to leave outside will be those that are extremely difficult to relocate or ones you know will come back again in the Springtime. 

After choosing what you want to bring indoors, you need to evaluate your container situation. How many containers will transfer indoors? Which plants are being dug up and need containers? Also, which plants have broken or damaged containers that need replacements? Figuring out which plants you want to bring indoors first will help you realistically evaluate your container situation before you go to your garden center to purchase supplies.

Gather Needed Supplies

Would you rather start moving plants in and have to stop to grab supplies as you go, or would you rather have everything you need in one place before you begin the transition making the process smoother?

We recommend gathering all your supplies to bring plants inside for Winter before attempting to tackle the job at hand.

Some supplies you may need to pick up:

  • Shovel
  • Shears
  • Gloves
  • Pots or Containers
  • Potting Mix
  • Fertilizer
  • Trowel

When purchasing soil or fertilizer, you need to consider what type of plants you are moving indoors. You may need a few different types of potting mix depending on the individual plant requirements.

Always bring your plants inside before the shock of too cold weather, especially if you need to repot them in fresh soil. We recommend savoring at least 25% of the old soil and mixing it with the new soil when replanting.

Groom Your Plants

Plants should be evaluated and trimmed periodically, removing any leggy growth or old foliage. Trimming your plant will help promote new and healthier growth by ensuring nutrition is flowing to the plant areas that can use it best and not being wasted on overgrowth, dead leaves.  

Pests

While it is ideal to savor 25% of old soil when planting plants in a fresh potting mix, make sure you check for any signs of pests or insects. Moving insects indoors could be detrimental for all indoor plants. If you notice any insects or suspect them, treat the plant outdoors with pesticides before bringing them indoors, and do not attempt to save any of the old soil. The last thing we want to cause is all our indoor plants a pest infestation that would become a headache to overcome.

Water

Most plants go into dormancy, even being moved indoors during the Winter. In inactivity or cooler months, when plant growth slows drastically, typically, you need to reduce watering significantly for your plants. The ideal situation is to give all the plants you are moving a deep, thorough watering and only water indoors throughout the cold seasons when necessary. Overwatering happens quicker without even realizing it when we keep watering plants in the Winter on the same schedule as in summer heat.

Watering plants before moving inside and after replanting in a new potting mix is not only good for plant growth and to prevent the risk of future root rot or oversaturation, but it also helps your plant settle in its new soil and container.

Lighting

Outdoor plants are going to be more tolerant to bright sunlight than strictly indoor plants would be. Not only more tolerant, but they are also going to need brighter light to thrive indoors. Read up on the plant you are relocating indoors and figure out their minimal lighting requirements to help you discover the best home for them while inside.

If possible, slowly transition your plant from outdoors to indoors. Moving them inside during the night and back outside during the day can help them adjust smoothly.

Humidity

Humidity levels are drastically different indoors compared to outdoors. This is especially true in the Winter because the furnace will dry out air quickly. Your plant may need a humidifier added to its indoor area to assist with the transition depending on the type of outdoor climate they are familiar too. If a humidifier is not possible, grab supplies to create individual humidity trays for those plants with high humidity requirements.

Bringing Plants Inside for Winter – The Wrap-up

With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can have success transitioning plants inside for Winter. Carefully select your plants, gather necessary tools, find the perfect relocation home indoors, and then get to work.

FAQ

It may not be possible to bring inside if you have an extremely large plant or a tree-type plant. With the proper care, most large tree-type plants will die in the Winter and should come back in the Spring or Summertime. The best thing you can do for plants that have to stay outside in the winter is prep them for the cold months. Add fresh soil or fertilizer around them and go ahead and provide them with a thorough watering because the upcoming months will most likely be dry.

Temperature settings will vary by plant. However, a good rule of thumb is having your thermostat averaging around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Most plants can survive with indoor temps around 70 degrees. Below 60 will become too cold, and above 80 can be too warm for others.

If you do not repot your plants in new soil, always add fertilizer before bringing them indoors. If you replant them in fresh potting mix, you need to determine if the potting mix includes a slow-releasing fertilizer. Most soil mixtures have fertilizer included, so you would not need to add additional fertilizer.

Plants usually need less water during the Winter than they would in the summer. This rule works for indoor and outdoor plants. So, yes, thoroughly soaking and draining your plant before bringing it indoors for the Winter is the best practice because, more than likely, you will not need to water your plant too often before it is Springtime again.

Grab a shovel, shears, potting mix, trowel, fertilizer, humidity tray essentials, gloves, and the number of containers you need. That will cover your basic tool list to assist with an outdoor-indoor plant transition.

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