35. Transitioning Your Houseplants Inside after Summer
Bringing your houseplants indoors when the weather gets colder is really important and there are a few steps you should be doing to ensure that your beloved houseplants stay healthy.
How to prepare your home
How to prevent and fight houseplant pests
How to acclimate your houseplants indoors
What behavior to expect from your houseplant
Before I dive into how to acclimate your houseplant indoors after summer I have something SO exciting to share with you! On the day of this recording (September 7th, 2019) I have JUST opened the doors to a three-day houseplant challenge to help you better understand your houseplant and create a routine that ACTUALLY works for both you! (And by both I mean you and your houseplant!)
The challenge begins on September 23rd, but you can join now! When you do you’ll get immediate access to the closed challenge Facebook group, a bonus training before the challenge begins, and some other great tips and resources to help you better understand your houseplants - and therefore enjoy them SO much more!
And guess what. It’s 100% free!
You can join the challenge HERE.
There will be replays available, bonus content, AND even a bonus day with a live repotting and Q&A session!
If you are catching this after the challenge ends (October 4th, 2019) I plan on making this challenge into an evergreen challenge (and keeping it FREE!) so you can still learn all about how to better understand your houseplant and create a houseplant care routine that you actually enjoy AND works for both of you! (i.e. keeps your houseplants alive)
Which is why I have cleverly titled the challenge: Stop Killing Your Houseplants Challenge!
Once you enroll can you do me a HUGE favor? I am trying to reach a really big goal of getting 500 members in the free challenge. Can you help me spread the word and invite your friends? I would be so grateful! You guys have been so supportive and I know if we work together we can build and nurture a houseplant community dedicated to growing well! I can’t wait!
How to transition your houseplants back indoors:
The reason your houseplant needs to be acclimated (which simply means to become accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions) is because the growing conditions within your home are drastically different than the growing conditions outdoors. The biggest difference is in the amount of light your plant will receive.
For more on understanding light, I have Darryl Cheng from Houseplant Journal on Ep 7 unpacking light!
1. How to prepare your home
This step won’t take long, but it’s an important one to think through. Do you have enough light in your home to support healthy plant growth? If not how can you rearrange things a bit so your plant can “see” the open sky and get access to as much light as possible?
Remember that your plant will be surrounded by four walls and a rough with only one teeny tiny windows worth of light - so it NEEDS to be by that window!
2. Check for pests and prevent pests
Watch for pests! There are a lot of steps to take here to ensure that any plants that you kept inside don’t get pests and to make sure ants don’t take over your house.
I suggest treating all your houseplants that stayed inside over the summer as a preventative measure. In episode 26 I have a full episode on fighting pests and it will be especially helpful to refer back to as you are preventing houseplant pests.
Inspect the plants you are bringing inside very well! Check under the pot, on the top of the soil, in the crocks of the leaves - look everywhere! I also recommend doing some preventative treatment with a botanically based insecticidal spray. I have a link to my favorite one in the show note of episode 26 for you, as well as how to use it.
If you’d like to steer clear of using an insecticidal spray, that’s totally fine! I just suggest keeping your plant in a separate room from all other houseplants for at least 1-2 weeks. Like a little planty quarantine.
3. How to acclimate your houseplants indoors
The most ideal time to bring your houseplant from outside back in is when the temperature is roughly the same outside as it is inside, and before the temperatures get below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (which is 10 degrees celsius).
Most houseplants are of tropical origin because they prefer similar temperatures to the ones we prefer in our homes and thrive in a consistent climate. Some plants are more frost hardy than others, but as a good rule of thumb bring your houseplants inside well before the first frost. So probably within the next couple of weeks since it’s September!
When you do bring them indoors don’t just pull it from outdoors and place it indoors, especially if the temperature and light available are drastically different. Instead, take a few days to help acclimate your houseplant to its indoor growing conditions.
The drastic change in growing conditions can shock the plant and cause leaf drop or stress on the plant.
So how do you acclimate your plants? Oh man, I am so glad you asked.
There are two main ways to acclimate a houseplant from an outdoor environment to your home:
The first is by bringing your houseplant indoors for just a few hours and then p[lacing it back outside. Then, the next day keep it indoors for a few hours longer, and then bring it back outside. Do this until it’s inside for all the daylight hours and you're done! It should be over a span of 3-5 days.
Doing it this way is great when the temperature outdoors matches the temperature indoors to reduce the shock on your houseplant.
The second way, and the method I prefer because it feels simpler to me, is to over the course of 5 days, progressively move your houseplant into more shady spaces. Then, on day 5 bring it indoors for good.
Both ways work well! I suggest using the second method for larger plants in particular so you aren’t hauling gigantic plants back and forth every day.
4. What behavior to expect from your houseplant
Remember that your houseplants don’t have cozy sweaters and pumpkin muffins to look forward to as we transition to winter, they only get a lack of light. Light is the precursor for photosynthesis which is the process by which a houseplant creates its own food. I explain photosynthesis for the houseplant collector in episode 29.
With less light, the plant will slow down the process of photosynthesis and require less water as a result. This is why it is very important to feel the soil before you water and NEVER stick to a strict houseplant care schedule, because as the daylight hours get shorter your plant will require different care from you.
In the Stop Killing Your Houseplants (Free) Challenge we’ll be creating a fun, actionable houseplant care routine that works for you and actually helps you keep your houseplants alive! I see so many people struggle in this area and I can not wait to share with you what I’ve created!
Many houseplants go into a dormant period during winter and nearly all houseplants will at least rest and put out little to no growth. This is normal and nothing to worry about! In addition, your houseplants may drop some lower leaves in shock to lower light levels, don’t worry! Your plant will be okay! But next year let that acclimation process take a little longer to prevent this.