its time to bring your container plants in for the winter

How to Overwinter Container Plants

6 Steps for Bringing Your Plants Indoors

Our houseplants, citrus trees, and tropical plants have had their day in the sun, but now we must bring them in for the winter to ensure their survival. Typically, once temperatures drop below 50 degrees overnight, you know it is time to make the move.

Not so fast though, there are some steps that you should take for a seamless transfer while leaving the mess outdoors.

How It's Done:

Step 1: Decision Time

First, you’ll be faced with the difficult decision of deciding which plants you are going to put in the time and effort to bring inside.

Indoors, you will likely have limited space and sunlight, not all of your plants may fit into these areas while receiving the proper care that they need.

To save space, you can create cuttings of your favorite plants, and bring them inside.

Problems with your plants will only escalate once placed indoors. Outside, pests have natural predators that will control their numbers. Indoors, they no longer have these threats and will quickly multiply and spread to other plants.

It is the same when it comes to diseases. The neutral climate inside is ideal for diseases. If left untreated, they will quickly spread, taking over your plant.

That is why we recommend that you either exclude diseased plants when choosing plants or remedy the situation prior to the move. It is also important to only choose healthy plants. If a plant is struggling to survive outside, its condition will only worsen inside.

you have to choose which plants to bring in for the winter

add soapy water to soil to kill unwanted critters

Step 2: Trim

Once you have decided which plants have made the cut, prepare them while outside. Trim off any dead or leggy branches.

Houseplants can become centerpieces for home decor, so make sure your plants are looking their best while front and center in your house. 

Step 3: Inspect

Ensure that nothing hitches a ride with your plant; do a visual inspection of the leaves, stems, and soil for any pests. Many like to hide on the underside of the leaves so be very thorough in your search.

If you happen to find any, wipe them off and spray the area with some diluted dish soap.

Step 4: Stop Soil Scavengers

Some critters may be part of the normal and healthy soil ecosystem and can be left alone. However, there may be lingering pests hiding in the roots that must be evicted before bringing the plant inside.

To make sure you got every last one, pour the same soap and water solution from earlier on the top layer of soil. The soap should suffocate any lingering critters in the soil.

Step 5: Water With Abandon

Deeply water the plant after applying the soap solution will help it disperse throughout the pot.

Stop once you see water coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. It is best to do this while still outside to prevent a mess.

Step 6: The Transfer and Winter Tips

Finally, it is time to bring your plants inside. Each plant is unique and will need a certain amount of light and water. Plan out and place your plants around your house accordingly.

During the winter, your plants will likely grow slower than they would normally and therefore require less watering. Overwatering can be more destructive than the alternative, so be careful. This is especially true with citrus trees, succulents, and palms. 

Since your containers have drainage holes, you will need a saucer, plastic or ceramic, to prevent water damage to your floors.

We advise the use of caution when messing with the roots of your plant in the fall. Unless totally necessary, refreshing your soil and repotting your plants is best done in spring when the days are longer and the plant is more motivated to make use of the new organic matter you give to it then. 

This fall, follow the steps above for a worry-free transfer of outdoor plants!