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Heather's Helpful Hint

Bringing Your House Plants Indoors
August 19, 2010

House plants are a wonderful addition to both home and office décor. Not only do they allow you to bring the great world of gardening indoors but they have other benefits such as cleaning the air that we breathe, making our living space brighter, and creating atmospheres that improve our moods.

If your houseplants have spent their summer months outdoors, it is time to begin the transition needed for bringing them back inside. The conditions between their growing space outside and their home inside vary greatly. Without a gradual reintroduction to their new environment, some plants may suffer stress resulting in yellowing leaves, wilting, die-back, and even death.

Begin by moving your plants to an area that receives only morning sun. This will allow plants to become acclimated to lower light conditions. Do not be alarmed if your plants experience some leaf drop. New ones will grow as the plant adapts to the decrease in light. Plants should stay in this new area for 4 weeks.

After this time, and before bringing your house plants inside, they will need to be treated for insects. A safe insecticidal soap or horticultural oil sprayed on the leaves and stems will do the trick. The potting soil should be replaced with new, sterile material, and the pot should be thoroughly cleaned with a mild bleach solution followed by a thorough rinsing. Only repot your plants into larger pots if they have greatly outgrown their current size. Because the growth rate of plants slows so tremendously during the winter months, a larger pot may allow the root system of your plant to stay too wet, resulting in root rot. It is best to upgrade in the spring.

Continue to feed your plants throughout September but cease feeding from October through the end of February. Again, as plant growth slows, you run the risk of salt build up in the root system due to an abundance of fertilizer. Be prepared to cut down on watering as well. It is very important to make sure that the surface of the soil has dried in between watering.

Good preparation now will help to smooth the transition for your plants as they move from the outdoors to your home. By providing good care, you will have your plants for numerous years of enjoyment.

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