Whether you can bring certain plants indoors will depend on the plant! Check the hardiness rating for each plant on the internet before bringing it inside. This post walks you through the debugging process for plants that you want to bring inside. When your plants have enjoyed their summer vacation, make sure you eliminate any pests they may have picked up following a few simple steps.
What are the benefits of cleaning your plants?
The temperatures have dropped into the 40s at night now, and many of these houseplants need to be brought inside during the winter, so we have to talk about how to debug them for indoor storage.
Despite this, it doesn’t mean all outdoor plants are infested with bugs. They’re not. But the chances of them picking up some friendly visitors are higher outdoors, so you should be cautious and do this process diligently. Also, debugging plants to bring them inside is a relatively straightforward process, so better safe than sorry.
You can remove pests and bugs from your plants by debugging them with a good soak, as well as clean them up. Repotting them also allows you to replace the old soil with fresh, nutrient-rich material, if needed.
When should I bring plants indoors for the winter?
It depends solely on the climate in your area and the kind of plant you have whether you should bring indoors during the winter.
Plants that look dull or droopy are probably past the point of taking them indoors for the winter. They’re likely to rebound once they’re in an indoor hibernation spot over the winter.
It is important to have everything set up before your first frost date. Since general frost dates are predictable, you should give yourself some buffer room as well. Do not push it to frost as this can destroy many plants.
Acclimating Your Houseplant
Houseplants need temperatures of 50 degrees F. (10 C.) or less to begin acting like a houseplant once the nighttime temperature reaches that level. Most houseplants cannot endure temps below 45 degrees F. (7 C.). If your houseplant isn’t acclimated to the changes in temperature, wilting, and leaf loss may occur. The steps for acclimatizing plants indoors for the winter are simple, but if not followed your plant may experience shock.
The light and humidity changes between the outdoors and the house are significant. Start by bringing your houseplant inside at night. For the first few days, you should bring the container outside in the evening and bring it back inside in the morning. As the plant grows, increase the amount of time it spends indoors over the course of two weeks until it is entirely indoors.
You do not need to water indoor plants as much as you need to water outdoors, so only water when the soil is dry to the touch. You can increase the amount of sunlight your plants receive by cleaning your windows.
Debugging Smaller Plants to Bring Inside
Let’s discuss how to debug potted plants in smaller containers before bringing them indoors.
Step 1: Fill a soapy bucket
Prepare a bucket of water and soap. Just squirt enough in to get some suds going. I used the sink instead of a bucket for debugging some smaller plants after dark one evening. The sink was filled with soapy water, and the plants were immediately placed in the sink to soak.
For each plant you soak, you don’t have to change out the soapy water solution, but you might wish to start over with a fresh tub if your current one is beginning to look dirty.
Step 2: Soak and spray (if necessary)
Make sure the foliage is submerged for at least 15 minutes. If there are still leaves above water, turn them over and ensure the soapy water can soak each part of the plant. Use your Neem oil to give the foliage a thorough spraying if you are unable to submerge the entire plant. Do not do this indoors.
Even if the plant doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can still use this method. However, you’ll be better off using this method with plants with drainage holes (which most outdoor planters have anyway). It’s best to remove the plant and soil from the pot, if your container does not have a drainage hole, after soaking it so it can air out.
Step 3: Scoop and tidy
After the plant is soaked, scoop out any floating debris, such as leaves, bark, sticks, soil clumps, and dead foliage. Keep the water as clean as possible to re-use on the next plant.
Step 4: Remove, rinse, repot (if necessary), and dry
Remove the plant from the soaking solution and thoroughly rinse it to remove any soap residue. I like to run a fresh water stream through the plant while watering it to flush all of the soap residue out of the drainage hole.
This is the time where the plant needs to dry and fully drain out any moisture. You can take out the plant and place it on its side if you plan on repotting it with fresh soil or a larger pot. My plants have always been dried out a bit after swimming in water and brought inside. Otherwise, let the water drain completely and then bring it inside
How to Debug Large Plants to Bring Indoors
It’s probably sufficient to do the steps above to debug plants to bring indoors for the winter, unless they are really big! You’ll need a debugging solution that isn’t just soaking. Here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Spray neem oil
My first step is to spray the plant with an oil spray made from neem, getting into the corners, crannies, and undersides of the leaves. Whenever I soak my plants, I don’t worry about going overboard. I let them sit for about 15 minutes while I soak some of my smaller plants.
Step 2: Flush out soil
Start watering the plant with your hose and squirt a bit of your mild soak around the soil’s surface. This will combine the soap with the water. Make sure the soil is soaked completely. I did this twice for thorough cleaning.
You should also dump a bucket of soapy water several times from above onto the plant to remove the neem oil, as well as to give the foliage a proper rinse with water.
Step 3: Rinse and let drain
When I’d properly washed the plants, I used a hose on its shower setting to soak them in plain water. I then positioned the plants in a sunny spot to allow the water to drain and completely dry out the foliage.
Several hours later, I brought the plants inside and placed them in their desired spots. Don’t forget to use drainage saucers if necessary.