Many gardeners know that heartbreaking feeling that comes with autumn frosts. The end of the season does not have to mean a painful parting with plants, however. You can move many of your favorite container annuals and tropicals inside, where they'll survive as houseplants until spring.
Pick a Good Spot
Before you move your plants, be sure you have the right location. The majority of varieties need a bright spot (as most grow in full sun outdoors). They also like extra humidity; indoor air is typically dry and the leaves will turn brown and crispy if there's not enough moisture in it.
Although most plants prefer a cool location -- in the 60s during the day and 10 degrees lower at night -- they will tolerate warmer conditions.
A little extra care before you move the plants in will help them cope with the transition. First, check carefully for pest problems and spray if you spot any.
Learn more about bringing outdoor plants inside!
Once pests are under control, acclimate your plants by putting them in a shady spot for a couple of weeks before moving them inside. When you bring them inside, cut them back slightly; this helps control size and encourages new growth that will be better adapted to life indoors. (Repeat the process in spring when you take the plants back outside, to help them acclimate to being outdoors again.)
Moving Garden Plants Inside
If you want to bring a plant that was growing in the ground (versus in a container), you will need to pot it first. Choose a container with drainage holes and fill it with a potting mix designed for containers. Do not use regulargarden soil. It does not drain well and can harbor insects or disease. Knock off the garden soil from the roots to discourage pests.
Once your plants are indoors, water them enough so they do not completely dry out. Remember they do not need as much water as during the growing season. They typically will not need fertilizer, either. Think of their indoor time as a rest period.
Continued on page 2: Plants You Can Grow Indoors