Moving Houseplants Indoors

— Written By Peg Godwin and last updated by
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Many gardeners enjoy watching their houseplants grow outside during the summer months. As outdoor temperatures cool, it is time to think about moving your houseplants inside. Some houseplants like night temperatures as low as 55 degrees but others may be injured if temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

The ideal time to move plants indoors is when the temperatures inside and outside are about the same. This will reduce the shock that plants are subject to when there is a sudden change in the environment. Humidity inside a home is often lower than outdoors and light intensity is frequently lower indoors. Changing the environment of a plant often results in loss of some foliage.

A gradual change in environments can lessen the shock to the plant. Some dedicated gardeners, help their plants readjust by taking the plants indoors at night and returning them to the outdoors during the day. If you are not that energetic, help your plants transition by moving them to a location outdoors with less light for a few days. Perhaps there is a sheltered area like a car port, patio or deck where pots could remain for a few days before returning them to the indoors. Consider soaking potted plants in a tub of warm water for several minutes to encourage any insects to leave the soil. Take note that some plants like aloe, agave, and many succulents do not respond well to being soaked.

Check pots and foliage closely before moving plants indoors to limit unwanted pests. It may be helpful to remove a plant from the container for a close inspection. Earwigs, centipedes, slugs, snails, frogs, lizards, spiders, crickets, pill bugs, aphids, mealy bugs, scale and even fire ants may hitch a ride into your house. Some of the critters can be easily removed by washing with a strong stream of water or by using a spray of insecticidal soap. Mealy bugs can be hand removed with the use of a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Sometimes a plant has grown so large that it will no longer fit in the space available indoors. The gardener may choose to take cuttings of the plant to begin again, plan to give it away or decide to prune it back.

Once your plants are back inside, inspect them frequently for pests to prevent the populations from building up. Also remember that your plants will frequently need less water in an indoor setting. Take time to feel the soil with your finger to determine the moisture level of the soil. Plant growth is not as fast indoors during the winter as it is outdoors in the spring and summer.

House plants provide oxygen and beauty to an indoor living space. Pay attention to the weather and do not wait too long to move your plants back inside.