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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
038

Time to Bring Plants in for Winter, Minus the Insects


It looks like we'll be getting a frost here in Northern Illinois on Friday, so it's time that those last houseplants make their way indoors. But this question comes up every fall: How can I bring my houseplants in from outside without bringing in spiders or other insects with it?

 
Well, there are a few strategies.
 
1. Clean up the plants: First remove any dead or dying foliage and spent flowers. Give the container a really thorough watering to flush out any potential insects.
 
2. Spray down with the hose: Spray the the plant down well with the hose to blast off any insects, making sure to get the undersides of the leaves and stems as well.
 
3. Submerge the root ball: If you're concerned about insects in the soil, consider submerging it. Submerging smaller plants in water for 15 minutes can help send insects that were in the soil scrambling for higher ground. I wouldn't recommend this strategy for plants that prefer a dry soil, as the soil will be very saturated after this soaking. Also, not recommended for plants that you are bringing in to go dormant, like succulents for examples. These need dry soil through their dormant period. Bring containers inside to the garage after submerging to allow them to dry out a bit before bringing in the house. Continue to monitor your watering well after this to ensure that the plant is not overwatered.
 
4. Scrub the pots well: Scrub your containers thoroughly before bringing them in. Spiders like dark moist places on the bottoms of pots to leave their eggs to hatch.
 
5. Move to a shady area: Not so much for insects, but for the health of your plants. Move your containers to a shadier area for a few days to slowly acclimate them to lower light conditions. This can help prevent some of the yellowing and leaf drop that normally occurs when bringing plants from outdoors to inside.
 
6. Repot and prune if necessary: If the plant has outgrown the container, consider repotting it into a container that is at least 2" larger. If pruning is necessary, do not remove more than 1/3 of the growth.
 
Learn more about houseplants here
 
 
 


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