Your indoor plants have enjoyed a lovely summer basking in the sun! Now that the nights are getting cooler and the mercury is hovering at around 12°C, it’s time to move tropical plants back indoors. Generally speaking, early September is the perfect time for this because the nights are still warm. Beyond then, the temperature changes are too extreme, and this could cause your plants to turn yellow or lose their leaves.
It takes approximately 7 to 10 days to acclimatize indoor plants. Simply move them indoors at night and back outdoors during the day. Indoors, plant growth will slow (period of semi-dormancy) due to the sudden change in light exposure. Don’t worry – this is completely normal! Growth will resume in the spring.
Some plants are more resistant to cool autumn nights
This is true for a number of species such as Christmas cactus, succulents, citrus, tropical azalea and cyclamens. Although these varieties are more resistant to the cold and cool temperatures actually trigger their flowering process, they should not be left outdoors for too long. Once the temperature at night dips to 5°C, it’s time to bring them in. The garage is always an excellent option for easing the transition on colder nights.
4 easy steps!
A few precautions should be taken to avoid housing unwelcome insects over the winter.
- Inspect and prune
Remove insects by hand. They like to hide in softer plant parts like new shoots, buds and flowers, which can even be removed to significantly reduce their presence.
- Rinse thoroughly
A lukewarm shower is next! Use a water stream that is powerful enough to dislodge insects but not so powerful that it damages the plant. Allow the plant to dry.
- Spray the leaves with insecticidal soap
Spray the leaves with insecticidal soap and wipe down both sides of each leaf with a damp cloth. You may need to repeat this step 2 to 3 times to eliminate more tenacious insects.
- Soak the container in soapy water
Most plants should be ready to move indoors after the first two steps. If you suspect that there are insects in the soil, immerse the entire container in a big tub of water mixed with insecticidal soap. You may need to add weight (rock, brick, etc.) to hold the pot down in the water. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes, remove the container from the tub and allow it to drain.
Here are a few more tips for facilitating the transition indoors:
- Recreate similar sunlight conditions
If your indoor plants were in full sun outdoors, once inside, they should be placed next to a large window with lots of sunlight to facilitate acclimatization. Plants that are in the shade outdoors should be moved to an indoor location with indirect sunlight.
- Don’t repot or fertilize in the fall
Fertilizing and repotting should be avoided while plants are semi-dormant. Repotting can be done the following spring and fertilizer can be added once the leaves resume growing at the end of the winter. During this rest period, regular watering will satisfy your indoor plants.