by P. Bieneman
The beginning of fall is an important time to bring your houseplants inside that were vacationing outside all summer. When night time lows reach 50, it is time to bring them inside. They are most likely bigger and better than when they were this spring. Lots of leaves and roots will have developed in the ideal conditions of outdoor life. First check to see if you need to re-pot. The rule is 2-3” wider than the pot they were in. You can divide up plants at this time. Re-potting also allows for checking to see if there are any insects in the soil like worms or ants.
If you are not re-potting, submerge your tropical plants in water to drive out ants or other insects in the soil. Treating the foliage with a soap or oil spray will help control any insects on the foliage and stems.
Prepare your spots inside your home before you bring in your plants. Make sure saucers or plant dollies are in place to avoid water spills. Check light conditions and heat sources before you place your plants. It may be necessary to store extra plants under grow lights in a warm basement or attic as your collection expands.
Slow down on the fertilizer this fall as plants are preparing for a period of less growth.
Many tropical plants like hibiscus, banana and brugmansia should be watered sparingly in the winter as they are resting. They do not need prime floor space in your home during winter but a cool or warm basement area would work well.
Continue caring for and grooming your plants inside. Watch for insect activity as this can become a problem quickly.