Performing a transPLANT
With the changing of the season, your more delicate outdoor plants will start to wither away, but not all of them must die! This year, consider transferring some of your favorite plants from your garden to your home to keep them around all year.
Tip #1: Choose the correct plants
The plants you should bring inside for the winter are your favorites. Give priority to any plants that you love and have invested a lot of time in. If you’re looking for vegetable plants to keep indoors through the winter, peppers and tomatoes are great candidates if you can provide them with enough light.
Not every plant can survive the transition from an outside garden to an indoor pot. For starters, only take healthy plants. If something wasn’t thriving under ideal summer conditions, it probably won’t survive inside during the winter. If any of your plants have diseases or pests, consider the effects they might have on your other indoor plants. Check for blotchy white or yellow spots, mildew/mold growth on leaves, and small gnats at the base of your plants before bringing them in.
Tip #2: Consider the change in watering
To stay comfortable during the frigid cold of winter, we like to turn the heat up in our homes. And while this change in temperature keeps us cozy, it also decreases the humidity in the air which causes our plants to lose more water than usual. To help your plants adjust to the change in humidity, watch carefully for signs of dehydration (brown, crispy leaves and/or wilting) and adjust your watering accordingly.
Tip #3: Keep the light levels the same
When moving your plants from outside to inside, keep in mind what lighting conditions they were growing under. If one plant was in a particularly sunny spot outside, try your best to keep it in a well-lit area in your home. Conversely, if one your plants grew in a fairly shady area of your garden, move it to a spot in your house that doesn’t receive too much sunlight.
Tip #4: Don’t change the soil
Changing environments is stressful enough for your plants, but if you were to change their soil and repot them immediately, they would be under even more strain. To minimize the potential of bringing in unwanted bugs with your potted plants, soak the entire pot in a bucket of warm water for 15 minutes. This should drive most insects out of the soil. Wipe down the leaves and the pot exterior to remove any lingering bugs and eggs, and let the pot sit in direct sunlight for a few hours.
Tip #5: Take cuttings
As a precaution, take cuttings (which can be re-rooted and re-planted) of your favorite plants in case anything goes wrong in their transition. To do this: 1) choose healthy shoots, trim them to 2-3" long, and remove the leaves which were closest to the base of the plant, 2) put the cutting in sterile potting mix or fresh water, with one leaf node below the surface, and 3) place the cutting in an area that receives bright indirect light. Your cutting should develop new roots in about a month, and when the roots are about 2" long they can be repotted. This way, you can replicate your favorite plants over the winter in case any of your transplants fail.
Best of luck with your seasonal transplanting, and let us know how your transition goes!