Bringing Plants Indoors for Winter

close up of a green leafed plant with white and red marled parts

With cold temperatures finally arriving, all of those tropical plants and houseplants on summer “vacation” on the deck are back inside. Below are a few tips to overwinter those tropical plants indoors with success.

  • Watch for Insets.
    • Almost any plant coming in from the outside will have insects whose populations will explode in the warm home. Treat before bringing them indoors with an insecticidal soap and isolate from other plants for several weeks.
  • Don’t fertilize.
    • Lower light levels and shorter days means plants are not actively growing, so no need to fertilize or promote growth.
  • Reduce watering.
    • Check the soil before each watering. Lower light levels indoors usually mean there is less need to water.
  • Find a bright location.
    • After spending a summer outside, most plants will have become acclimatized to higher light levels. To prevent shock and leaf drop, find a bright indoor location, even if that is under artificial light.
  • Pitch the garden soil. 
    • If digging a plant out of the garden to bring in, remove as much soil from the roots as possible. Then plant in potting soil. Since much of the root system was compromised, it’s beneficial to reduce the top growth as well. Cut back foliage by half.
  • Consider cuttings.
    • Many houseplants can be kept going more easily and with less space with by cuttings.

– Prepared by Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs

Photo caption: Caladium bicolor ‘Miss Muffet’