After a long summer of basking in the sunshine and humidity, it’s time for your plants to hibernate for the winter.
Aside from perennials, most plants won’t survive by hanging on your porch through the winter months. And with frost in the forecast this weekend in Kansas City, it’s about that time that plants make their way inside.
Follow these steps to keep your plants thriving in your home until they can be outside again.
Monitor and Remove Bugs and Diseases
Hard-to-detect pests like mealybugs and aphids could be living on your outdoor plants. Before bringing the plants inside, soak a washcloth in a solution of insecticidal soap and warm water and wipe down their leaves.
If a plant is noticeably infected with a fungal disease—like mold or leaf spot—keep it in a separate room from other plants while you remedy it to avoid further spread.
Repot if Needed
Your plants lived through a hot and sunny summer, so odds are they’ve grown in size and need a bigger pot to live in. Make sure their new containers are sterile before you repot—a wipedown of dish soap and warm water will do the trick. Once repotted, give the plants a deep watering to help them settle into their new home.
If a plant you brought indoors requires ample sunlight, place it near a window and help it out by keeping windows clean of dust and debris and moving curtains if necessary.
Before bringing your plants inside, use pruning shears to cut back any dead or damaged growth. If plants have become overgrown over the summer, you can safely trim leaves and branches back by about a third.
You can’t do it all on your own: Use a wagon or cart to transfer heavier pots inside from your porch or yard.
Pay Attention to Humidity
A surefire sign that plants need more humidity is when their leaves start to become brown and crispy. Misting plants will create a temporary humid climate in the environment. Plants also release moisture through their leaves through a process called transpiration, so if your plant(s) prefer humid conditions, help them out by placing them next to other humidity-loving plants. Avoid placing tropical plants near a drying source like a radiator.