Don't you just pity those people who do not have four seasons!? They
do not get the joy of cleaning up and winterizing gardens against snow, cold
and wind? They also do not get the fun (and it is fun) of bringing plants
indoors for the winter. Because you are reading this article, you most likely
get that pleasure. And, you want to do it right.
There are a few things you need to consider and do before cold weather
arrives. We say "before" because a early, unexpected frost can kill your
plans, as it kills your plants.
Selecting Suitable Plants
There are a couple of things you need to consider, as you select plants to
bring indoors. First and foremost, is whether the plant is suitable for your
indoor climate. An indoor climate gets much less sunlight, so plants that
thrive in full or partial shade are good candidates. They must be small enough
to fit into your pot or container, and the root system must be comfortable
in that contained area. They must also be tolerant of the cooler and usually
drier weather that exists in your home during much of the winter.
Checking for Disease and Bugs
It is important to select healthy plants. The first sign of a healthy plant,
is vigorous growth. Inspect each soon to be houseplant carefully. Make
sure there are no insects on the plant, or in the soil. Are there holes in
the leaves that suggest insects chewing on the plant? In checking for disease,
tobvious signs are slow growth, wilting leaves and other visible signs, like
If your plant is diseased, look for another candidate. If insects are present,
either eliminate them, or find another plant.
Selecting the right pots is primarily a matter of taste. But, you should
also select containers that are large enough for the root system of your
plant now and through the winter months. Select pots with drainage holes
in the bottom of the pot or container. Some pots do not have drainage holes.
Many plants are drowned by too much watering, and no place for excess water
to go. A good pot will have drainage holes and a small dish underneath to
capture any excess water that seeps out. Your plant will thank you for it!
Repotting and Pruning:
After you have selected your plant, give it a pruning into the shape you
want. Don't be shy. A good trim will help the plant to focus on developing
and settling it's root system in it's new home, setting a good foundation
Use good, quality, sterile potting soil and center your plant in the pot.
Spread out the roots and make sure that they are completely covered with
soil. Gently, firm down the soil. Water thoroughly, but gently, using a light
solution of liquid fertilizer. Add more soil if holes or low spots occur
as the soil settles.
Your plant is now tucked cozily into it's new home and will grow well thanks
to your love and attention....and green thumb.
Outdoors, your plant received lots of sunshine. Through the fall and winter
months, there is less sunlight for your plant. And once you bring it indoors,
there is even less light.
When bringing a plant indoors, condition it by slowly reducing the available
light it receives. At first, give it as much sunlight as possible. This means
placing it in the sunniest window, even if this is not it's final winter
Gradually move it away from the light. Slow and steady wins the race in this
task. After several days, move it to where you want it to stay.
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