tis' the season…Overwintering Plants Indoors
Garden Series Part 1
Overwintering Plants Indoors ~ how-to
I think that this is something that most Mamas ask themselves around this time of year, usually over and over ~ where has the summer gone? I looked at the calendar this morning and somehow despite knowing the date, felt shocked to see that September is almost over. Yikes. A rushed and chaotic move this summer seems to have evaporated the time, and poof! here we are with the leaves falling and the nights chilly.
And so…after an unintended blog hiatus, Happy Fall! We have snow in the forecast for this coming weekend and so I am scrambling to plan planters and bring favourites inside. I thought it might be worth sharing a few cost-saving and fall-friendly-plant how-tos.
*tip: any plants under an eve of shelter from that first unexpected snowfall/frost can often still be saved (think about those porch cuties), they just may require a touch more TLC and a hardier pruning.
I love succulents more than most plants. Not only are they beautiful, but no matter how much you travel in the summer, they are easy to keep alive and flourishing. Succulents love to be ignored in full sun and rarely watered! And because they are a bit of an investment I usually choose to bring mine inside each fall and try to overwinter them, saving some cost next spring, and also having them beautifully filled in and even potting new babies from their overgrowth.
I prefer to use indoor growing lights in the furnace room for the biggest two pots, but a direct light/ hot sunny window will do the trick too (for succulents, obviously look at the specific needs of any other plants that you are bringing in).
This year I am also bringing in a fern that was in a shade planter to save for next year’s porch, and if I can get organized enough I may take some Geranium and Coleus cuttings that will be big enough next spring to pop out again.
The reason for bringing things inside carefully is to avoid spreading pests to any of your indoor plants. Here’s how I do it:
I spray down the planter and pot from top to bottom with a water/dish soap/neem oil mixture daily for three days prior to bringing them in (if the snow is looming or it might frost at night, just pull them into the garage to protect them a touch before bringing them in while you do this (or do it in a room well away from others). Make sure you get the soil thoroughly too.
I follow the directions on the Neem Oil bottle, but for the brand that I have, it works out to about 1 cup of tepid water, 1 tsp dishsoap and 2 tsp of Neem oil. Shake thoroughly prior to each use.
On the day you bring it in (if the plant can tolerate it), give the leaves a thorough spray off in the sink or with the hose. (This is too much water for the succulents, but the fern loved it).
Spray it down once inside with the Neem Oil concoction again and if you are re-potting it, get the root ball too. Cut off any dead leaves or stalks.
They are likely still a few fungus gnats here and there (they look like fruit flies but thrive in moisture and eat your plants roots…awful little creatures), the trick will be to tuck in a “Sticky Stick” or two. They are yellow (science that I do not understand has determined that to be the most attractive colour to gnats) and uber sticky, the adults will end up stuck ideally before laying new eggs. (If I see more than one or two flying gnats or any bug movement in the soil, I also under-water the plant for the first while to discourage them, since gnats and many other pests thrive in high moisture.)
Monitor for infestation. I try to keep my adopted houseplants quarantined for about a week to make sure I don’t have a massive infestation that is more serious, still spraying the Neem Oil mixture daily or as needed.
These were the exact products that I am using this week, but for the most part, brand doesn’t matter a ton. Both the Neem Oil and Sticky Sticks were purchased on Amazon.
If nothing else, it is worth a try and can brighten up the gloomy winter barreling our way.