Moving plants back inside

September 23, 2006.  In my house you don’t need to look at the calendar to know that fall has arrived – signs of the change of season become more evident daily.

coleus cuttings 9-09_edited Freshly cut coleus stems now live in water-filled glass jars on a bright window sill.  I take cuttings from the tips of the healthiest looking coleus in my gardens, and wash them in water that contains a small amount of dishwashing liquid. This, hopefully, will remove any tiny aphids hiding underneath the leaves. Once roots sprout, these coleus will become brightly colored potted plants that will help soothe my need for brightly colored plants during cold weather months.  If I manage to prevent aphid infestations, these coleus will also serve as starters for some of next year’s coleus plantings.

P6290484_edited The potted indoor plants I moved outdoors after the weather finally warmed are slowly finding their way back inside. A jasmine was still in bloom when moved to its current indoor spot.  Last winter this plant bloomed through November and again in February – filling the room with sweet jasmine scent.

potted tropical hibiscus with ageratum 9-09_edited Two potted tropical hibiscus, also still in bloom, will soon be doused with insect-killing Safer spray.  One of these plants has lived through 17 years of moving outdoors in summer and indoors in winter.  The parent plant produced an offshoot that I’m training into the single-stem, tree-like standard pictured at left.  Both hibiscus benefit from full-sun locations during summer months.  To offset their bright orange color, I under plant with purple and blue flowering annuals – here you can see this year’s blue ageratum – which I’ll remove before bringing the plants inside.  The hibiscus will continue to bloom – often through Thanksgiving – then I’ll cut them back harshly, leaving only minimal leaves.  The pair will soon sprout new leaves from the remaining stems, and with light bi-monthly fertilization from late January onward and continued pruning for shape, they will be ready for re-acclimation to outdoor light once temperatures remain above 50 degrees next spring/summer.

Two scented geraniums – I think they are peppermint – that spent the warm days soaking up full sun, will also come back inside.  These survive cold seasons in a room that receives a hour or two of morning winter sun and otherwise bright light, but they always require a serious pruning after a month or so of coming back inside.  Often I will water root scented geranium cuttings for future plants, but usually do not do so until January or so.

The rest of my indoor greens – ivy, rabbit’s foot ferns, a variegated bromeliad, and a potted lemon grass I kept alive through last winter to see it thrive in warmer outdoor temps – will come back in as I rearrange furniture to make room.

potted gerbera daisies 9-09_edited Plus, for the first time I will try to overwinter gerbera daisies that grew so nicely on my deck this summer.  I’d love to hear from anyone with experience saving gerberas from year to year – maybe you can pass on some tips?

3 comments for “Moving plants back inside

  1. September 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Joene,

    Your post is yet another sign that winter is just around the corner. For the first time today, I can really notice fall is here. The leaves are starting to turn color and many are already falling. Of course, it’s 80 degrees here so I’m waiting for the temp. to catch up with the calendar. I love cool fall days!

  2. September 24, 2009 at 10:22 am

    It is that time again. Do you ever have problems with pests hitching a ride into the house? Any tips on how to avoid it?

  3. joenesgarden
    September 25, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Hi Kate. Welcome. The best way to avoid bringing pests in with plants is to inspect for bugs – look under and over every leaf, along stems, and transplant the plants to new soil. I don’t always transplant, but I do inspect very thoroughly. I also spray Safer, an organic pesticide, on plants I know are likely to house aphids and other small sucking insects. Preferably, spray twice about a week apart, and really soak all leaf and stem surfaces. To really increase the likelihood of success, enclose the plant in a plastic bag for about 24 hours after each spray, but the size of my plants often prevents the bag thing. Still, sometimes bugs slip in, so it is good practice to isolate these plants for a couple of weeks and watch for any intruders. I always seem to miss some inch long caterpillars that like to eat hibiscus leaves, but their droppings give them away once the plants are inside, which prompts me to search till I find the little buggers.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: