Is it time to bring your potted plants inside?
It's getting colder outside- so what to do with your pot plants?
It’s the end of summer, the nights are drawing in and your potted plants in the garden are starting to feel the chill. As much as we don’t want to it to be true, it’s time to begin preparing for autumn and winter.
Your potted plants have looked fantastic all summer. They've lapped up all that sunshine and grown impressively. But as the nights get colder and the chilly October air sets in, how can you judge when to start moving them back indoors for the winter? Many plants have their own temperature tolerances, however as a rule of thumb when the nights drop below 7-10 degrees, it’s time to begin thinking about evacuating your pot plants inside.
The first steps- prepare
As with all things gardening, laying the groundwork before you make your move is vital. Find the best place in your home for your summer plants. Map out the areas with the best spots for sunlight and warmth- usually these offer an unobstructed south facing view. Clean your windows to maximise light, and prepare a stand, table or space where your plants won’t obstruct or get knocked over by day to day activity, kids or pets. When each plant has its designated spot, you can begin to move them indoors. It’s also a good idea to give the pots a clean too!
Make a gradual transition
Your plants can’t handle a sudden change in conditions, and need the make the change slowly. Gradually acclimatising your potted plants to life indoors is key to helping them adjust to their new surroundings. Even the slightest difference in light, heat and moisture can make a striking difference
Adjust for the change: less light less light means less water evaporation, so reduce watering and if in doubt don’t water your plants. It’s very easy to overwater and the most common killer of household plants is definitely an overenthusiastic owner!
If the weather changes should I move them back outside?
It’s unlikely the weather will change dramatically enough, and for long enough, to justify the harm that another two sudden changes of environment will do to your plants (outside, then back inside). Once you’ve begun the process to the move them indoor, your plants will thank you for letting them adapt- they shouldn’t need light so badly that they need to leave their new home. If they do, you should consider moving them to a different spot.
Should I prune them?
If your plants have grown over their summer, you may feel the need to trim them back a bit before bringing them back indoors. Pruning is very different to dead heading, which as summer is starting to come to a close, you should consider for all your plants. However there’s no immediate need to prune your plants- in fact, unless you absolutely have to, it’s worth avoiding. Removing healthy parts from your plant is rarely a good idea, and when moving them indoors they might need as many healthy leaves as possible to get maximum sunlight. You should expect some leafs to drop after the move- this is simply due to the loss of light. It’s not a sign your plant is dying, just that it’s adapting to the new conditions. If parts begin to die, you can consider pruning or dead-heading these.