A good plant parent does all the right things. They provide their plant babies with the right amounts of sunlight and water and fertilizer (and maybe conversation). This time of year can be a little tricky, though. Those plants have been enjoying outdoor life all summer, but what is the best time to bring them in?
The longer you wait to move your sunny summer plants inside, the harder it’s going to be on them – and, at some point, you.
According to the National Garden Bureau, the first thing you need to do is start moving plants before the nighttime temperatures get too cold.
“To make the transition less painful, give the plants as little change in environment as you possibly can,” the NGB writes. “That means moving them inside before those indoor/outdoor differences become too great – particularly nighttime temperatures.” That means before hard frosts!
Plants go through metabolic changes to deal with lower temps. If they don’t like their environment, they will most likely react by dropping a lot of leaves. So keep an eye on those night temperatures outside.
You should begin moving the most sensitive babies inside when the nights are in the upper 50s and low 60s. For much of the Northeast, that’s definitely already here. Give the plants making the move a little clean-up before relocating them too – use a hose to wash them off and give them a little something to drink in their pots. Remember to check for pests and mold too!
After everyone is indoors that’s going to be indoors, be sure to arrange them in ways that make sense. The ones that needed full sunlight outside need to be closer to windows, for example, or under grow lights, if they’re especially sensitive. The same thing goes for temperatures. If it’s going to be too warm in your living room all winter, maybe somebody hangs out in a shed or garage for a while.
Once all the “houseplants” are in, set up a schedule for care. Winter can last a loooong time, and schedules can help you (and your plants) survive the cold and the dark.
Want to read the whole article from National Garden Bureau? Check it out here.