Bringing potted plants indoors for winter is often a necessity in Edmonton, because sometimes our more tender perennials can’t quite handle our cold Canadian weather. It’s also worth doing if you’ve got some annuals and tropicals that you aren’t ready to part with””oftentimes you can successfully keep them as houseplants inside until spring rolls along! But, if you just bring them in without a second thought and don’t go through the proper steps to transition them inside, some mild-to-moderate chaos can ensue!
While you can expect some leaf drop and slowed growth when overwintering plants, this doesn’t mean your plant is suffering! It’s most likely just going through the motions of its typical dormant phase, which is kind of like a winter hibernation. Follow this guide to bringing plants indoors for winter in Edmonton, and the transition should be smooth and relatively fuss-free.
How to Debug Plants to Bring Indoors
There’s a whole world of creepy crawlers out there that can hide on the undersides of leaves, and then wreak havoc on your indoor houseplants when brought inside. To make sure there aren’t any stowaways on your potted perennials, you’ll want to coat the leaves and stems with a natural insecticide.
If you don’t see any major damage or signs of infestation, I recommend using an organic castile soap solution, which is pretty much just soapy water, so you won’t have to worry about bringing in any nasty chemicals into the house, which could pose a threat to your pets. Spray all the leaves liberally, let it dry, repeat the process the next day, and then bring “˜em inside.
If there’s definitely some signs of insect damage, like chomped-up leaves, fine webbing or sticky droppings, you might want to use something a little more heavy duty. Neem oil is an essential oil derived from the neem tree, and when diluted with water, it makes a powerful insecticide! You can also use pyrethrum spray, which is derived from the chrysanthemum flower, and while it can pose a threat to pollinators like ladybugs and bees, you won’t be encountering any of those bugs inside, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Ideal Conditions for Overwintering Plants Indoors
Tender perennials need to go into dormancy so they can properly rest and conserve energy before the next active growing season. So, you don’t want to make conditions too warm or sunny for them, or else it will jumble up their natural growth cycle. Ideally, you’ll want to keep them somewhere cool, but not too chilly””no colder than 5 °C. The basement or an insulated garage might be the best place for them, but you may need to supplement with a little extra light by plugging in a grow light. Tropical annuals are a different story””they can handle a little more light and heat, but you should check the requirements for your specific variety just to be certain.
Make sure you don’t set up your potted perennials too close to any hot or cold drafts, and consider plugging in a humidifier if the room is feeling super dry. A little extra humidity can do a world of good for healthy foliage, and even just misting the leaves every few days can help the cause. Just make sure that water doesn’t collect in big droplets within densely packed foliage, or else this could result in fungal growth like mildew””especially in a darker room like the basement.
The Best Grow Lights for Overwintering Plants
Sunshine isn’t always in high supply from November to February, so picking up a grow light can help to give your houseplants some extra light to keep them from meeting their untimely end. Only use them if you’re noticing significant wilting, because most tender perennials still need those cooler temperatures and less light to remain in dormancy.
There are plenty of sizes and different models to choose from, so you don’t have to get the most expensive, state-of-the-art technology to get good results. A small, plug-in lamp with an adjustable head can be easily set up without taking up too much room, and if you’re worried about leaving it on, you can pick up one with a built-in timer. Plus, you can use it to help start your vegetable seedlings so you can enjoy a slightly-earlier harvest!
Want to add some more greenery into your home for the winter, but don’t have any potted perennials that need to be brought in? Why not add some new houseplants to the mix! We’ve still got some gorgeous jade pothos, golden pothos, and peace lilies available, which are super easy to care for, and help purify the air in your home. Visit us at Salisbury to see the whole collection, or shop online at our GrowStore!