Depending on your geographic location, you may decide to bring some of your favorite container plants and even some garden-planted annuals indoors to use as houseplants. Sometimes this works . . . and other times it can be a disappointment. Here are a few tips that will help to guarantee success!
1) Ideally plants should be repotted before being moved indoors to eliminate the possibility of bringing insects into the house. If your plants are of a size where you can easily do that, remove the plant from its container and wash the container in warm soapy water. Repot the planting using new potting soil and water well.
2) If your plants are too large to easily transplant, before bringing them indoors and do a thorough inspection for insects and diseases. Remove any damaged or diseased growth. To force insects to the surface for removal, soak the container in a large tub of very warm water for about 15 minutes and then remove any insects that may be surfacing.
3) Tropical plants like cannas and caladiums don’t do well in dry heat so unless you have a particularly moist room, your success with these may be limited. If you’re still determined to give it a try, group moisture loving plants together and place them on a waterproof tray that has a 1-2” layer of gravel. Fill the tray with water, just a bit below the top of the gravel, and place the containers on top. Check the water level regularly.
4) Before a hard frost, take cuttings of plants that easily root easily in water such as coleus, begonias, geraniums, and plectranthus (our favorite variety is “Mona Lavender”). Once they send out roots, you can plant them up to use as houseplants. These plants can get leggy, so rotate them regularly to keep them from stretching too far in any direction. You can also pinch them back a bit to encourage a bushier growth, rooting any long stems that you cut off.
5) A few tropicals like Festival Cordyline don’t mind dry heat, and can make excellent indoor plants. Succulent cuttings can also be brought indoors. Plant them in glass jars with stones and moss as “terrariums” or in a decorative dish filled with a bit of gravel and soil. These need less water than most indoor plants.
6) Regardless of what type of plant you’re bringing indoors, don’t overwater. Let the soil surface becomes dry to the touch. If in doubt, don’t water.
7) When selecting a location for your new houseplants, choose one that has similar light to that they’ve been growing in out doors. If they’ve been in bright overhead sunlight conditions, they may drop some of their leaves when moved indoors, even in a bright window.