Why do people bring their plants in for Winter? 

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The biggest reason is that generally house plants are tropical plants and if it gets too cold in the Wintertime (especially if they are in a pot and not in the ground) these plants are not going to survive, unfortunately.  So it is not safe for the plant. It can harm the plant’s roots and foliage. So, generally, it is better to overwinter the plant inside. When it is warm again you can bring it back out

Can Houseplants Survive Winter Outside?

Can Houseplants Survive Winter Outside?

There are house plants that can stay outside in the ground depending on where you are at. They can survive a very mild Winter out there even if they are tropical plants. It just depends on the specific type of plant and location. However, most of the tropical ones (especially if they are in pots) are not going to have that extra protection from frost. Especially around their roots. They cannot come back from that damage.  The foliage is most likely to die off as well. Leaving your plants outside will cause them to have a lot of issues. It is much easier to overwinter your plant inside the house, where it can continue to grow in a lot of warmth and humidity. That way you don’t have to start your plant completely from scratch even if it could survive a very mild Winter.

When to Bring Your Houseplants in?

When to Bring Your Houseplants in?

Generally, most houseplants are not going to be able to survive any type of frost. You definitely want to get them in before that. Most house plants are going to start struggling at about 55 to 50゚F or 12゚C. You definitely want to make sure that you start bringing in your plants around that time because, after that damage starts being done, it can take a lot of time for your plants to recover from that. Some of them won’t be able to recover at all depending on how tropical they are.

Acclimation

Acclimation

 So when you are going to save your plants by bringing them inside there is a couple of different things that you need to worry about. Acclamation is one of them. For this situation in particular plants are for sure going to get less light when they come in. So, you want to slowly reduce their light over time and actually acclimate them that way.

The temperatures might also change. It might have been cooler outside and warmer inside or it might have been warmer outside and cooler inside. It is all depending on your conditions and what you have going on at that time. Based on how you like your household environment. There may also be some leaf loss in a little bit of the acclamation there as well.  Just keep an eye out for that and take care of your plants as far as that goes. Be sure to remove any dead foliage.

Reduce Watering

Reduce Watering

Inside there is less airflow so you definitely want to reduce that water back. Your plants are not going to need as much water as they did outside. This is because less of that water that is left in the pot will be evaporated off. Your potting medium will hold onto that water long and with the stress of such an environmental change can easily develop root rot.

What About Pest?

What About Pest?

Another thing to be concerned about when you’re bringing your plants in is pests. A lot of times you could have little spiders little aphids, thrips, and all kinds of little pests that can go ahead and hang out on your plants when they are outside. That is fine because outside there are predatory bugs that are going to eat them. However, inside most of the time, you do not have those predatory bugs. Most of the time you don’t have the type of ecosystem going on inside in order to sustain them. So they wouldn’t make it very long inside anyway even if you had them inside. Also, let’s face it.. most people are not OK with having a bunch of bugs crawling around their plants inside their home.  So let’s talk about how to get rid of some of those pests before you bring those plants in.

Pest Reduction for Winter

Pest Reduction

The biggest thing that you can do to get anything off of your plants before you bring them in is simply rinse them off. You want to get us to hose.  You won’t get a light spray going on and you just want to make sure to get all the cracks and crevices of your plants. You want to make sure you are also not doing this at a time when you are going to overwater your plant. However, you definitely want to make sure that you are fully saturating your entire plant to get all the little nooks and crannies, cracks, and crevices.

Little spiders will like to live underneath foliage, especially Tradescantia. They make fantastic little spider homes. Which is great but we just don’t want them coming into our homes too. Especially,  if you live in certain places where there are poisonous spiders.

 After you are done spraying them down you have a couple of other options as well.

This has gotten rid of most of the main pest issues but you can definitely take extra measures if you are concerned.

You can go ahead and spray down your plants with Insecticidal soap. Neem oil doesn’t do as much as we think it does. It doesn’t take care of as many pests and it certainly doesn’t take care of the really hard-core ones, unfortunately. So it is better just to use an insecticidal soap. Spray the plant down.  Keep your plants out of direct light whatever you decide to spray your plants down with.

You can also just go ahead and dunk your plants in some warm soapy water using a gentle Castile soap not something like a dish detergent or anything like that. Detergents are different from soaps and they react to plants’ foliage a little bit differently. So you do want to keep that in mind. Use just a couple drops of soap in the bucket of warm water and just kind of dunk your plant and then it will get rid of anything that’s on there.

You can also unpot and repot your plants. Bare root it. Wash it all out and then go ahead and put it back in the fresh substrate and that is another way that you can go ahead and make sure there’s everything off of your plant.

Transitional Damage for Winter

Transitional Damage

Regardless of how you treat your plant for pests, when you bring them inside you are most likely going to see things like leaf loss, leaf damage, and yellowing leaves. There is going to be less light innately in the house. The environment is going to be different and your plants are going to go a little bit in shock unless you acclimated them really well. Especially plants like fiddle leaf figs you are going to see leaves dropping but that is totally normal. Your plants should bounce back in a few weeks to a month depending on the type of plant. They should definitely have some new growth sprouting for you after they have acclimated and accepted these new growing conditions.

Plant Surprises for Winter

Plant Surprises

 If you did not repot you should keep an eye on your pots and not just be looking for pests. You may have had some seeds kind of blowing in the wind from your yard or neighbor’s plants or just other plants in general and they may have landed in your potted plants while outside. So you may have a few extra plants that you didn’t know about growing in your pots. Which can be very fun. It just depends on whether you like that kind of thing or not and if you see something weird growing in your plant (weeds, mushrooms, etc.) don’t be too concerned about it. Remove it if you don’t like it or just do not want it to grow. It is perfectly fine. Just another thing to be aware of.

 Hopefully, this helps you bring your plants in for the Winter and kind of acclimate them a little bit. These tips should help limit leaf drops and give you a little bit less pest stress when you are bringing in your plants.

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