If your temperatures outside are regularly dipping below 60 degrees, it’s time to start thinking about bringing plants inside for the winter. I usually bring in my ferns, begonias, and scented geraniums, and this year, I will be bringing a dwarf Meyer lemon tree that currently has 12 lemons on it. They are all still green, but I’m hoping they will hit maturity soon.
Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter
1. Start by gradually decreasing the amount light the plant receives over a few days to help lessen stress on the plant. You could even bring them inside at night and back outside during the day.
2. Before bringing them indoors inspect the plant for insects and treat accordingly. This can simply be a good spray with a garden hose or something a little stronger like insecticidal soap. Clean the pots and check to see if anything is living below.
3. Prune all leggy plants. Cut off all dead plant material. This rose scented geranium is very rangy and needs a good pruning.
4. Once they are inside for the winter, make sure they get adequate light. A full-spectrum light with a timer set to 16 hours a day is a good way to help plants with less than optimal lighting.
5. Resist the temptation to over water. Indoor plants need less water and in many cases should only be watered once a week. An easy way to check is to stick your finger into the pot a good inch or so, checking to see if the soil is dry
In addition to bringing potted plants inside consider digging up tender perennials like this rosemary plant. Unless we have a really warm winter rosemary will not make it in my area so I pot it up and bring it inside. You can also taking cuttings of some of your annuals and bringing them inside to root over winter. Plants like impatiens, begonias, coleus and geraniums will thrive with decent lighting and you then won’t have to buy them in the spring.
On a closing note, even if you don’t have a lot of light inside your home you may be able to grow some plants very well. Take at look at this Rex begonia. I bought it a couple of years ago to put on my front porch for the summer. At the end of the summer I brought it in and it has never left my dining room but continues to thrive even though there is not a lot of light. Last year I even had a few flowers. So, instead of throwing your tender plants in the compost pile try bringing those beauties in. You’ll be glad that you did.