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Bringing Plants Back Inside For The Winter

Here is your "Houseplant Happiness Kit" for bringing plants inside after the summer.

Here is your “Houseplant Happiness Kit” for bringing plants inside after the summer.

As the latest wind and rain storm approached I brought several of my houseplants back indoors. I send many of my plants “to summer camp” and save a few tropicals and tender annuals from year to year as well. Normally I bring all of these in at the end of September, but this fall many came indoors a bit earlier because of the storm.

We don’t give houseplants any synthetic fertilizer in the fall because most of them are going into a resting period for the winter. When the days are shorter the reduced daylight gives plants the signal that they shouldn’t be actively growing. But many people realize as they bring plants inside that they may have forgotten to fertilize over the summer, and they want to give their plants a bit of a boost when they come indoors. Here is the method that I use for preventing insect pests and helping my houseplants look their best over the winter.

  1. Come into the store for your “Houseplant Happiness Kit” – for less than $25.00 you can pick up a bottle of Insecticidal Soap, yellow sticky cards, and a bag of Stonington Blend Organic Plant Food. (This Coast of Maine product is normally $19.99 but we have it on sale this week for $12.99.)
  2. Cut off all brown or damaged leaves and dead stems before you bring the plants inside.
  3. Spray the plant with Insecticidal Soap before you bring the plants in.
  4. Apply two teaspoons of the Coast of Maine fertilizer on top of the soil. If it looks like some of the soil has eroded over the summer you could put a thin layer of potting soil over the organic plant food. (Note: sometimes organic plant food shows “mold” as it breaks down on the surface of the potting mix. This is normal and doesn’t hurt the plant.)
  5. Place the yellow sticky cards near the plants. I tuck mine between the tines of an old fork and stick the handle of the fork into one of the pots. The cards trap any fungus gnats and whitefly that might be around. If you see the small “fruit flies” on the cards you might want to pick up some Captain Jack’s spinosad to put in the watering can when you water; this kills the fungus gnat larvae that feed on the roots of houseplants.
    If you see many fungus gnats being trapped on your yellow sticky cards, start putting spinodad in the watering can when you water the plants.

    If you see many fungus gnats being trapped on your yellow sticky cards, start putting spinodad in the watering can when you water the plants.

    Many people find that at some point a plant or two is too large to bring back indoors. Often they call and ask if we are willing to take such large plants and unfortunately we are not. Consider taking a cutting of a large plant and putting the remainder in the compost. And remember that sometimes it’s appropriate to thank a plant for coming, put it in the compost and start fresh with a smaller house plant.

    You can download this list of instructions and products by clicking here. 

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