Moving Houseplants Indoors

Moving Houseplants Indoors

Ready or not, fall is here. And, that means it’s time to move your houseplants back indoors. Our team at Groovy Ranch Plants advises customers that there’s a little more to the move than just carting plants back into your living room. They even pulled together a few steps to help with the move and keep your houseplants from throwing a botanical temper tantrum.

Watch the Temperature

First off, monitor evening temperature dips and be familiar with your plants’ native habitat. When the thermometer reads close to 45°F, it’s time to move most tropical houseplants indoors. Other plants native to subtropical regions, mountains and even some deserts may tolerate cooler but not freezing temperatures. Either play it safe and move them indoors at 45°F, or study up and let them linger outdoors if you learn otherwise.

Clean and Inspect Plants

Outdoors, houseplants are less prone to insect damage thanks to natural predators. So, when you move them indoors, it’s good to check plant leaves – tops and undersides -- for any insects or eggs. We find a good spray with a hose will knock off many insects. Any lingering ones can be treated with an insecticidal soap or alcohol swab. For more details, see our post on Conquering Houseplant Pests

Now is also a good time to trim away any dead or decaying leaves and lightly trim any leggy growth. While it’s best to postpone repotting until spring when plants are actively growing, you can add a fresh layer of potting mix, especially if soil was washed away from summer downpours or spilled by a curious cat. Now is also a good time to toss any unhealthy plants. 

Indoor Adjustments

To minimize houseplants’ shock to their new growing conditions, make the move gradually, bringing houseplants in only at night for a few days. Alternatively, try moving them to a shady spot outdoors for a few days, or try moving them indoors to the sunniest window then gradually move them to their usual indoor spots. Once indoors fulltime, plants may experience some leaf drop. Don’t worry. Leaf drop should end as plants acclimate. Note: Fall is also a good time to clean windows to boost sunlight for your plants. 

Winter Dormancy

After growing all summer, many plants take a winter rest. We dive into the topic of “winter dormancy” in our Winter Care For Indoor Succulents blog post and video. Many plants like succulents and cacti are naturally adapted to conserve resources and limit growth during a dormant season.  In winter, it’s best to hold off on fertilizing and take care to not overwater them.  For more tips on watering, see our No-Fail Watering post.

This winter, enjoy your time indoors surrounded by your plants, and in no time you’ll be moving them back outdoors.
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