What to Do Before Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter

What to Do Before Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter

When chilly winds begin to blow, it’s time for vacationing houseplants to come inside for the winter. There’s some preparation that needs to be done to successfully transition your plants inside.

Tropical houseplants should be brought in if the temperature dips to 45 degrees. It’s best to bring pots of thyme, oregano, and chives inside too, to avoid freezing. Additionally, they make a lovely, indoor garden when placed on a kitchen window sill!

Here’s a list of things to do before bringing plants inside for the winter.

eliminate common plant pests before transporting them inside

Eliminate Outside Pests

Any harmful insects such as aphids, spider mites, or mealybugs can make their way indoors and multiply rapidly inside. Wash your plant’s leaves and stems with a strong spray of water to knock off any hidden insects and eggs.

Then spray insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill any remaining pests. To finish, allow it to dry.

Prune or Repot

Did your houseplant grow considerably over the summer? Then you may want to repot or prune it before bringing your plant inside.

When pruning, trim no more than one-third of the plant.

When repotting, choose a container that is at least 2 inches wider than the current one. This will give the plant lots of room to grow.

In case your houseplant grows too large for its pot, it may need repotting on occasion.

repotting plants inside

How to Repot Your Houseplant:

What You’ll Need:

  • Plastic pots
  • Peat-based compost
  • Small trowel

Step 1

Start by thoroughly watering the day before you plan to repot.

Step 2

To remove the plant, place your fingers on top of the soil, directly over the root ball. Do so while inverting the pot with your other hand.

If the plant resists, then use a garden knife to loosen the root ball from the pot.

Step 3

Tap the side of the pot on a hard surface to loosen the plant from the container. If it still won’t budge, run a knife between the side of the pot and the root ball. This should loosen the roots.

Step 4

Examine the roots by gently lifting and untangling them. By spreading the roots, it allows the plant to branch out and firmly grasp the soil.

Step 5

Add a handful of fresh compost to the new pot and place your plant in the pot, centering it.

Check the plant’s depth making sure the top of the root ball is roughly 3/4-inch below the rim of the container. Doing so leaves room for an additional layer of compost, plus needed water.

Using a trowel, add compost in the base of the pot, around the plant and root ball, and on top.

And finish by firming the soil by pressing down with your fingers.

Step 6

Water your houseplant and then place it in a favorite container.

potted plants inside home

Acclimating Your Plant From Outdoors to Indoors

The difference between indoor and outdoor growing conditions can be dramatic. Prepare your plants for the transition with these following tips.

  • Place plants in a shady spot a couple of weeks before bringing them inside.
  • Start bringing them in at night and then moving them back outside in the morning.
  • Over the span of two weeks, gradually increase the time your plant spends indoors.
  • Move your houseplants to a bright indoor spot. It’s most ideal to place them by the south or west-facing window.
  • If you’re short on natural light, then consider purchasing a grow light kit. This helps to ensure your plants inside get enough sunlight.

place a humidifier near your plant

Providing Humidity

Did you know that dry indoor air can take a toll on houseplants? With this in mind, it may be a sign that your houseplants are craving humidity.

Dry leaf tips and the dropping of leaves is an indicator that you need to provide humidity for them.

Try doing one of the following to stop or reduce their craving for humidity:

  • Mist your houseplants two times a day.
  • Place them on humidity trays.
  • Install a room humidifier for a more passive involvement.
Don’t Overwater!

Another key point is to water sparingly. Most houseplants ‘rest’ and require less water in the winter.

When the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feels dry, give them a drink.

No Fertilizer Required

Fertilize your plants four weeks before setting your plants out in the spring. Check your last frost date, online at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Transitioning Your Inside Plants Back Outside

When mild weather returns and the danger of frost passes, acclimate your plants to the outdoors, gradually. Your favorite greenery will thrive again in the warm, spring temperatures.

Are you interested in more gardening hints and tips? Click here.

Want to know more about keeping your outdoor spaces clean? Click here to learn how Ron successfully cleaned his outdoor living space.