Bringing in Your Houseplants
Before bringing in your houseplants, make sure you aren’t bringing in bugs with them.
One of my favorite things to do when the weather turns warmer is to put all my houseplants outside on the back porch. The flipside to that I have to bring them in once the evening temperatures start to drop.
I dread bringing them back inside. By the time fall rolls around, I know I have accumulated a few more plants than I had in the spring. Now I have to find space for all of them in the house. I, jokingly, told the kids we didn’t have room for a Christmas tree this year; we were decorating the houseplants!
What to Do
Because the plants sat outside all summer, I know insects made homes in some of them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to bring those bugs into my house! To minimize the stowaways, here are a few things you can do.
Inspect the Green
Inspect the leaves, stems, and flowers. Look closely at the tops and undersides of the leaves of your plants. You may even need a magnifying glass for this. You are looking for aphids, scale, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Signs of aphids are a dark, sticky substance called honeydew (basically poo) on the leaves. Aphids like to hang out on new growth.
Scale is a small, light to dark brown, round insect. It doesn’t move much so that it may look like a growth more than an insect. Scale also secretes honeydew (again poo).
Spider mites make themselves known by small webs interlaced between the leaves and stems. Yellow or brown spots on the leaves are indicative of spider mite damage.
Another way to find out if you have hitchhikers is to place a piece of white paper under the leaves and shake the plant. If any bugs fall onto the paper, you need to treat the plant before bringing it inside.
Not only inspect the leaves and stems but remove the plant from the pot and inspect the soil. The soil is where you will find ants, pillbugs, earwigs, and even frogs.
Repot your plant if you find insects in the soil.
Pick off as many critters as you can by hand.
Spray the plants with a stream of water to see if that will get rid of the insects. If that doesn’t work, you may have to opt for insecticidal soap.
The insecticidal soaps work on contact. They break down the cell membranes of the insect, causing it to die. It does not work well on insects with a hard body like a beetle. Insecticidal soaps are available in spray bottles at any garden center.
Unfortunately, if you have a plant infested with insects, you may need to dispose of it instead of bringing it into your home.
Once your plants are inside, continue to check for any signs of emerging insects for the next couple of weeks. You don’t want bugs in with your houseplants to have a cozy winter vacation!
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Bringing in Your Houseplants
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I’ve always loved gardening and recently started gardening full-time. I also enjoy tending to our chickens, dogs, and other family pets (a bird, a snake, and rabbits).