Tips For Overwintering Plants In Your Home
September 29, 2021 | View PDF
Every year at the first signs of Fall temperatures begin to dip and we can start to expect the occasional overnight frost. This reminds us that winter will soon be here. It's time to start thinking about any of those plants you've enjoyed this summer and whether or not you would like to attempt to SAVE them by overwintering them indoors. There are many factors involved with overwintering plants in your home. Let's spend a few minutes outlining those various things.
When deciding to bring a plant inside for the winter it is best to make sure that there are no "friends" who may hitch a ride and be problems for you later. Spend some time with your plant outside with your garden hose. A light shower of water applied over ALL the leaves can help to wash away many problem insects that could migrate to other indoor plants once inside. This can also help refresh and revive a plant's ability to take in light. By removing grit from the surfaces of the leaves it allows the plant to better take in the light it needs to survive.
Safe Ways To Stop Them
There can be tiny insects that are difficult to see. If you would like to, you CAN use an insecticide at this time, to get rid of unwanted insects. Many insecticides have harmful chemicals that can be a "no no" in indoor environments, so using those products outside while you have the opportunity to do so can solve some problems early. Products such as Neem Oil are safe alternatives to pesticides indoors. The other safe option is simply alcohol. A solution of water and alcohol can kill many pests that bother plants indoors. Do take care when using the alcohol method to not allow alcohol to STAY on the leaves for a long period of time. Spray the plant and then wash off the alcohol within a few hours. Alcohol because of its makeup has "drying" effects on our skin as humans, as well as on plants. A squirt of dish soap in the solution can also help as the soap can also help to suffocate and trap unwanted pests.
Light: It's Essential
Many plants, especially annuals, veggies, and herbs require high amounts of light in order to do well indoors. Other plants such as tropicals or houseplants hail from regions that are naturally not as bright. This means they can handle darker indoor environments better.
It isn't uncommon to see very little growth in plants during this time of the year, even when you correct the challenges facing plants such as temperature. The factor of light is also very important. Due to our distance from the equator, our days in the months of October through February are extremely short. This short day length prevents plants from receiving the amount of light they need. As a result, they may not grow much during those months. You may not see ANY new leaves during this time. Do not be alarmed. Make sure however, that you're only providing water when the plant needs it.
Feeding & Fertilizing
While all living things need nutrients to survive, they need far more when they are active than when they are not. During the months mentioned above, little to no fertilizer is recommended when plants are subject ONLY to natural sunlight. There are some basic rules for fertilization that are often helpful. People ask often "when can I fertilize?" That answer is; when you see plants actively growing and producing leaves. The other question is "how often?" That answer is every third watering. The third and final question, of course, is "how much?" For that I would direct you to the information on your fertilizer container. Many fertilizers have an outdoor AND an indoor strength. Follow the indoor. And don't be afraid to even go at HALF the indoor strength.
Lastly, the water needs of your plants while they were outside will vary greatly now that you have changed its conditions. Bear that in mind as you water and care for your plants. Water only when the soil is dry 1-2 inches down.
If you have further questions, or specific questions about your plants, We're here to help. Reach out to us! Until then, good luck, and happy growing!