Tips for Overwintering Tropical Plants
We have experienced beautiful weather this fall, however, sometime in the next few weeks we will most likely experience colder temperatures. Here are our Tips for Overwintering Plants!
Tip 1: Get rid of the bugs!
If you have plants such as hibiscus, gardenias or other houseplants that you are planning to bring indoors, it is best to plan ahead in order to avoid insect infestations and plant stress.
When plants are outdoors, there are natural predator insects, wind, and rain that keep insect infestation. When you bring plants indoors, that is not the case. Inside your home is a fairly controlled environment where insects can proliferate and multiply. To avoid this, it is best to treat plants before bringing them indoors.
We recommend that you treat your plants with a houseplant spray or an organic insecticidal soap. You should spray them two times, one week apart. The first week will kill the insects and the second treatment will kill insect eggs that may have hatched or any insects that remain in the plant.
After the second treatment, you can move your plants indoors. In addition to spray treatments, you can apply Systemic Houseplant Granules by Bonide which works through the roots and into the stems to prevent future insect issues. To further explain, many of the insects that attack tropical plants are sucking insects which are difficult to see or identify until damage is significant. This is because they suck the chlorophyll from the plants leaving them dull and less vigorous. With proper preventive care you will most likely avoid having this problem.
Tip 2: Proper Lighting
You will want to move your houseplants indoors gradually – if possible – so they can adjust to your home’s lower lighting. First move your plants to a shady spot or porch for up to a week. Then move them indoors to a sunny location or bright room. If you do not have space for them in a bright room, put them in the basement with artificial lighting for at least 6 hours per day. If you have space issues, trim your plants back so your home can accommodate them. It is best to cut your plants back in February when the days are beginning to become longer, however, if you need to do it when you are bring them in, that is fine.
Tip 3: Watering
Most plants require watering less frequently during the winter months. Check the soil one to two times per week and water when the soil is dry. Touch the soil to feel if it is moist. Be sure to drain the excess water from your plant’s saucer within 30 minutes to an hour to avoid root rot. Fertilize at half strength once to twice a month with a houseplant fertilizer.