This is not a drill, I repeat this is not a drill. To all of my new plantparents, or this might serve as a reminder to my OG plantparents. The time has come to move your outdoor plants indoors. Depending on where you live in the world, fall may be showing its face a more and more with each passing day. Here in NC we have started to see consistent low temps which tells me its time to move my plant babies inside.
During the spring and summer due to the warmer weathers, especially at night, I like to move certain plants outside to be as close to their natural habitat as possible. During these months the plants are able to adsorb the benefits of natural sunshine and rain. Honestly I have seen more growth in my plants that live outside part-time than I have seen in my indoor bunch this summer. Right now I have 3 cacti, a few succulents and one aloe plant that have been rocking outside on the patio since about May.
Why should I move them in?
Most plants that can survive both indoor and outdoor environment are plants coming from different regions such as the tropics. And while they can tolerate various conditions (inside + out) there are conditions that can potentially kill them. Cold temperatures are one of those conditions. In those situations where the plant can survive cold temps, actual plant growth can slow all the way down.
The same as when I am switching my spring/summer clothes for my fall/winter clothes there are 3 rules of thumb that I follow when deciding when + which plant babies will come indoors.
3 Rules of Thumb
1. Temperature: Temperature will always been a deciding factor on moving plants indoors or even outside. I follow the rule of 3 when it comes to temperature. If the temperatures outside are consistently 45 degrees and lower at night while also not getting higher than 65ish during the day for 3 consistent days, it is time to bring my plants inside. (If it happens to just be cooler at night and warmer during the day I bring my plants in during the night and back out during the day). I follow a similar rule when deciding to take my plants outside during the spring and summer.
2. Health: This should be a rule of thumb in general as a plantparent but it is especially important when moving plants inside. The change of environment will be a shock to the plant. Even with all the steps taken to gradual acclimate the plant to its new “home”. It is important to only bring in plants that can survive the move. It is easy to think you can “save” a plans + in most instance you can, but when bringing plants inside you have to be completely honest with yourself about the condition of your plant. If the plant has already been struggling outside with the best conditions of fresh sun + rain, it likely will not make it inside. Check the plants fully for any signs of health issues or disease and decide if it should be taken inside.
3. Insects: Any plants that have been taken over by bugs do NOT come inside. Indoor plants can EASILY spread bugs to one another even in the best quarantined situations. Don’t even stress yourself with bringing a buggy plant inside. It wont end well. (you can take steps to attempt to debug before deciding)
How do I prepare my plants
Gradual Increase: Similar to preparing your plants to go outside during the spring and summer, gradually begin bringing plants inside to prevent shock. Start with bringing the plants inside at night and then bringing them back outside during the day. Gradually increase the amount of time inside while decreasing the amount of time outside. This should be done over the course of at least a week (and as much as 2 weeks) when you start to notice the drop in temperature.
So while not all plants can live that double agent life as an indoor + outdoor plant as always I encourage you to research your specific plant before placing indoors or outdoors. Just like people, each and every plant is different and has its own individual quirks + needs. And this goes without saying, don’t just leave your plant outside like a set it and forget it. You still need to check your plants each day, outside or not the same as you check on your indoor plants.
-How you water will change for these plants, careful to NOT overwater once inside
-Re-pot or prune in early stages of gradually bringing plant inside, this is good for clippings!
-Plants that need the MOST light should go near south facing windows
– There will be a drop in leaves while the plant adjust, do not be super alarmed