Bringing Plants Indoors

huge bromeliad in the tropical plant Conservatory

The weather this year has been strange to say the least, but temperatures will drop –albeit fitfully – this season, so it’s time to start getting ready to bring plants inside. The general rule has always been to bring plants in at night when nighttime temperatures drop to 45° F, and this holds true but there are additional steps to take to make sure your plants transition well.

Before you bring plants indoor, decide what looks good enough to keep. If a plant is stressed out and declining outdoors than it is likely to get worse once it is moved indoors for winter. Plants that are thriving and healthy are more likely to survive the dry air and low light conditions of winter. If there is a declining plant that you would like to keep, consider taking cuttings or harvesting seeds to grow a new plant.

After deciding which plants to keep, give them a thorough check for insects and diseases. Whiteflies, scale insects, aphids, and mealybugs are all insects that can wreak havoc indoors during winter. If you find any infected foliage, prune off any foliage that is heavily infected. You can soak the foliage with an insecticidal soap if you notice any signs or symptoms of insect infestation.

Once you know how many plants you are bringing in, decide where you are going to place them. Most plants will need a sunny window to sit in while they adapt to being indoors. Consider giving your windows a good wash to maximize the quality of light your plants receive.

Finally, give your plants time to adapt to their new environment. Move plants in at night when night temperatures reach 45° F, then place them outside in day while temperature remain agreeable. After a week or two of this, or as mornings get colder, start keeping the plants inside longer, only leaving them out in the afternoon or evening. Then, as daytime temperatures drop, bring them inside for the season.

With these tips, your plants should have a strong chance of making it through the winter months.

Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator