Winter Is Coming: Top Things To Consider Before Bringing Houseplants Indoors in NJ

Bridget Mulroy

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Houseplant Hack!(vadimkaipov/unsplash)

With autumn setting in, anyone with a green thumb (or a general love for plants) is most likely considering their next move – or their plants’ next move(s.)

Gardens both outdoors and indoors will be undergoing some major changes over the coming weeks. The following seasonal recommendations should be appreciated by anyone with a plant hobby.

  1. Prune back (depending on the plant) all the outdoor plants. Pay mind to the time of year you’re pruning each plant. Cutting back dead plant matter will omit the possibility of pests finding refuge, and allow for healthy perennials for the upcoming season.
  2. Spray your plants for pests before you bring any plants inside for the season. Organically, there are many options. Soapy water solution is a popular one, if you’re dealing with any stubborn pests, a list of organic pesticides can be found here. (Number 5 on that list is a knock-out, pun intended.)
  3. Water the roots of each plant before being brought indoors with hydrogen peroxide. H2O2 is water with an extra oxygen molecule, it’s used as an antiseptic for its ability to kill germs. Watering plants with H2O2 will kill any unwanted pest eggs, fungal infections, and pathogens that may carry over to other plants. It is not a sure bet that pests and pathogens will be eradicated, but it’s a solid preventative step.
  4. Keep all the plants your bringing indoors together in the sunniest spot available. In the same way, you needed to transition indoor plants to outside light at the beginning of Spring, transitioning them back to indoor light is ideal. Gradually moving them into their winter homes will help ensure their health over the next few months.
  5. End fertilizing. Usually, people will juice up their plants in the warmer seasons to increase their health and appearance. Since plants preserve their energy when they go dormant in the cooler seasons, there is no need to waste fertilizer and risk burning the plant (by over-fertilizing)
  6. Consider repotting. This step is recommended more for plants in need of TLC since repotting is best in spring. However, depending on how large and how long a particular plant has been in the location it’s in, you may want to consider repotting your plant. Increasing pot size and refreshing soil (for outdoor plants, removing old medium and replacing,) are awesome ways of increasing a plant’s chances of survival and living the healthiest life possible. Time this practice with your zone and need to do it.
  7. Look out for bugs. For the first month after you bring plants inside, look out for major signs of plant illness. Leaf-yellowing, leaf-crispiness, spots on the leaves, any discoloration, bugs crawling on your plants, things of that nature. You’ll know if something is up. Should you identify a problem, isolate the plant and treat it accordingly.
  8. Spiders are your friend. They carry a stigma for being scary and dare I say… icky, but they (and ladybugs) eat the plant bugs that you don’t want since plant bugs are genuinely icky.
  9. Don’t water for two weeks (at least) after you bring plants indoors. In the cooler months, since plants are using less energy, there is less of a need to water them as often. Dry soil will also deny bugs and pests from finding a place to breed. There is no direct need to water until you can see or feel the plant’s soil has dried out. Note: running the heat in the winter will dry plants out faster.
  10. Propagate! The last and final recommendation is a term for plant reproduction. So many plants are capable of regenerating themselves, finding the trick is not only fun but sometimes the last resort in saving plants that may not have fared as well after their transition indoors after their summer holiday.

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