Flower & Plant Care

Can You Bring Outdoor Plants Inside to Survive the Winter?

November 28, 2018

Old Man Winter may soon show his icy face, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your green thumb to rest for several months. While not all outdoor plants will survive being transplanted and cared for indoors, many will!

While certain plants require more specialized instructions, below is a general guide for how you could move plants inside.

Before Moving Plants Indoors

While we wish it were as simple as picking up a potted plant and moving it inside, it’s unfortunately not. Moving plants indoors to a drastically different environment than they’re used to can cause them to go into shock. That’s why it’s important to take certain precautions to protect both your beloved plants and home.

  • Get rid of any bugs. Especially if your plants have been sitting outside all summer, it’s important to clear any bugs off their leaves. Aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites are some of the most common bugs that attach themselves to plants, so keep an eye out for those in particular. You should also check the soil, as there can be bugs hiding in it.
  • Prune it. Pruning certain plants not only keeps them from dropping leaves on your floor, it also keeps your plant healthy — something it needs to be if it’s going to survive a sudden change in its environment.
  • Repot it. Like we said, you can’t simply carry a potted plant into your living room and expect it to flourish. When bringing a plant indoors, repot it in a container that’s roughly 2-inches larger than the one it was previously in. You should also make sure to repot it several weeks before you’re going to bring your plant in. This will ease its transition.

While Your Plants Are Inside

If you’ve made it to this stage, congrats! The hardest part is over. Now, all you have to do is keep them thriving. Do so by:

  • Placing them where they’ll thrive. While your rose plant may look beautiful catty-cornered in your living room, that may not be the best place for it, health-wise. Just like when you were planting them outside, it’s important to think about your plant’s sun, shade, and water needs.
  • Gradually adjusting the temperature. Most houseplants (and humans for that matter) don’t like to live in temperatures lower than 45 degrees Farenheight. That being said, they also don’t like sweltering hot conditions. If you keep your house on the warmer side, lower the temperature when you first bring plants in and gradually raise the temperature by a couple degrees every few days. Plants that are in full sun should be slowly moved to a more shady area so that they get used to the eventual change indoors.
  • Moving them inside at night. You can also acclimate plants to your home by bringing them inside at night. This will help them gradually get used to the changes in air quality, temperature, and humidity levels.
  • Watering them less often. Because these plants won’t be sitting in the hot sun anymore, they won’t need to be watered as often. A good rule of thumb is to water houseplants only when their soil is dry to the touch. You should also have a sauce under them to protect your floor and let you know once a plant has been properly watered.
  • Giving them indirect sunlight. While we all know plants love the light, be careful of how you energize them. Impurities in glass magnify the sun’s rays and can burn a plant’s leaves, so they should never be left near a window.
  • Accepting what can’t be moved. Not every plant can be brought inside because they have to go dormant for the winter in order to maintain their health. Rose bushes, hydrangeas, and lilies are just a few plants that should be left out in the elements.