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Nurturing House Plants during Winter

Nurturing House Plants during Winter

AUBURN, Ala.—As temperatures begin to fall, it is time to bring plants inside to protect them from the cold. There are some steps to take in order to lessen the shock for your plants and to not bring in any unwanted pests.

Lucy Edwards, a regional agent in home grounds, gardens and home pests with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the best time to bring plants back indoors is when temperatures drop between 50 and 45 degrees.

Sunlight Exposure


photo by lakov-filimonov at shutterstock.com

Getting the right amount of sunlight is essential for the health and growth of your plants. When outdoors, place plants in the area with the most access to direct sunlight. Before bringing plants back indoors, place potted plants in an area with partial sun exposure. This lessens the shock for the plant once it’s placed back indoors.

The ideal place to put a plant indoors is an area with high amounts of direct sunlight. Also, since plants grow in the direction of sunlight, get in the good habit of rotating the plant to make sure it is receiving even amounts of sunlight.


It’s important to check potted plants for both leaf and soil dweller insects. Not doing so could result in bringing unwanted pests and critters inside your home. An easy way to check and get rid of insects is to pour a heavy stream of water over the plant. Using insecticidal soaps also works.

A second option is repotting the plant. When doing so, make sure the pot chosen is one-third the size of the plant.

“A tell-tale sign for up-potting would be to check the root ball. Gently remove the plant from its container to inspect the root growth in the soil. If the roots are emerging to the surface of the soil or circling the circumference of the root ball, it is time to change the pot,” said Edwards.

Climate and Watering

When choosing the best place to put your plant indoors, Edwards says to avoid  entryways, windows and A/C vents that could cause drafts. “Since humidity tends to be lower indoors than outdoors, it is beneficial in the health of plants to keep some water in the saucer beneath the plant,” she added.

Additionally, Edwards says  plant growth slows during the winter season and does not need as much water.  Overwatering results in plant stress and possibly death. Use your finger to touch the top inch of soil. If the soil is dry, water the plant.


Featured photo by imnoom at Shutterstock.com

About Donna Reynolds