If I didn't have a calendar, I'd still know that fall is coming because of the constant singing of the cicadas up in the trees.
And with fall approaching, I'm starting to make some choices about which plants I'll bring inside to save them from the killing frost.
Yes, I said killing frost and it is still August. The killing frost (oops, wrote it again) is still hopefully about two months from now, but it never hurts to plan in advance.
First, I need to figure out what to do with the Red Banana plants, Ensete maurelii. I really like them and would like to save them. This is a picture taken in early July. They are now twice as big!
Fortunately, Proven Winners has some good instructions on what to do to winter them over. I think I'll choose the option of keeping them in the garage.
I've already decided that this Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' is spending the winter in the sunroom.It was a little "runt" of a plant when I bought it, the last one the garden center had, so I'm kind of fond of it. It jumped into my cart, honest!
I think it will get a bit leggy inside, but should survive, and then I can cut it back next spring when I put it back outside.
This old-fashioned Streptocarpus is also coming inside for the winter.
It's generally a houseplant around here, anyway. It was an impulse purchase this spring. Did you know I bought plants on impulse like that?
I also have a purple-leaved plant I call "Moses-in-the-Cradle" that I got a start of from Annie in Austin, so I am definitely bringing it inside well before the first frost. (There's that bad "frost" word again, sorry if that gave you chills.)
And of course, I'm bringing back into the house all the Clivia plants and the poinsettias that I set outside for the summer.
Just about the only plants that could make it inside in the winter that I'm not bringing in are three ginormous Boston ferns, Nephrolepis exaltata, hanging on the front porch. They would do okay inside, but I would have to sweep up leaves all winter long. Who needs that?
When I bring plants back inside for the fall and winter, I take several precautions to give them the best chance of making it through until spring without ending up with an invasion of pests inside my house. My precautions include:
- Bring them in well before the first frost. Some tropical plants, especially, don't even like temperatures in the 40's. Plus, the cooler temperatures often are the signal for the plants to start going dormant. I plan to start bringing some plants inside as early as Labor Day weekend.
- Repot them if I can. I know that fall is not the time to replant houseplants. Spring is preferred, but I don't want to bring in the pots that have been outside all summer with all the creatures that live in them now... like pill bugs, millipedes, and spiders, just to name a few. So I take my chances and repot the plants.
- Check them thoroughly for pests, especially the undersides of the leaves. I know, by the way, that I still have a big problem with mealybugs on the Clivia lilies that I set outside. I'll have to start now trying to get rid of them. (Mealybugs are also still a problem inside, unfortunately. I've been battling it for years.)
- Give them a little bit of fertilizer for a little boost going into winter. Then I don't fertilize them all winter, just water them when needed (which isn't as often as most people think.)
Does anyone else bring plants in for the winter? What do you do to ensure they'll survive until spring?