Bringing plants indoors for fall - Pro tips for a successful winter

If you have an outdoor space, patio or deck, bringing potted plants outdoors for the summer can be a great hack to fast forward their growth trajectory. In non-tropical regions where winter temperatures go below freezing, bringing plants inside for winter is important so that they survive the harsh weather. This does not apply to outdoor plants that are hardy for your gardening zone. Many houseplants are tropical plants and they cannot handle winter temperatures in non-tropical regions.

Potted houseplants hanging on brick wall in a square picture frame

Potted houseplants hanging on wall

As the leaves start to change color and the days get shorter, it's time to start thinking about bringing plants inside for Fall. If you're not sure how to do it, don't worry - our team at Treleaf has some tips for you! In this blog post, we'll discuss when to bring plants inside, what to spray on them before bringing them inside, how to transition them from outside to inside, and how to winterize them indoors. With these tips, your indoor plants will stay healthy and beautiful over the winter months!

Trailing philodendron on windowsill

Trailing Philodendron on windowsill. Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

When should you bring plants inside for the fall?

When you start seeing consistent nighttime temperatures dip below 50F or lower, it's time to start planning to bring the indoor plants inside. Most plants should be brought indoors before the first frost. Check your local weather forecast or the Farmer’s Almanac to get an idea of when the first frost date is expected in your area so that you are not caught by surprise.

A group of trees all chaning to fall colors

Trees transitioning to their fall colors

How do I prepare my plants before bringing them indoors?

Cleaning and Repotting

Before you bring them indoors, make sure to clean their foliage. Take a moment to clean off any debris that may have accumulated on your plants during the summertime. You can use a hose and shower the entire plant or use a spray bottle with soapy water to spray all the leaves and then wipe off any dirt. Next, prune your indoor plants if needed and remove any dead leaves. Also do not forget to clean the plant pot.

Little cactus in white planter

Tiny cactus in white planter

If the plant has outgrown its current pot, to maintain healthy growth, it is a good idea to repot your indoor plants in fresh soil. Reminder, make sure to use a pot with drainage holes. Also make sure to use the right kind of potting mix for your plant.

Debug plants and remove unwanted pests 

Before you move your plants indoors for the winter, debugging plants is important. Inspect for any hitchhikers like lizards, caterpillars, spiders and safely remove them from the leaves. Treat each plant for any pest issues, such as fungus gnats, spider mites, mealy bugs or any unwelcome insects. Even if you don't see any visible pests, we recommend spraying them with organic solutions like neem oil spray, a pesticide or an insecticidal soap as a preventative pest measure.  This will help protect them from any pests that may be present on the plants.

Another pro-tip, if the plant does not have wet soil, water the plants with hydrogen peroxide, to get rid of any pests living in the soil. You can buy pesticides over-the-counter at most garden stores. Ensuring the plant is pest free before bringing your houseplants inside will save you from a lot of stress over the winter months. It will also help your collection from being infested with pests.

Click here to learn more about common houseplant pests.

An assortment of plants next to a humidifier

Group of plants Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash 

How do you transition plants from outside to inside?

Once you finish treating your plants and fully bring them indoors for winter, you may start to notice some yellowing leaves or leaf drop. This is normal during the winter months, especially as the plants acclimate to a new environment.

However, some indoor plant care you can do to help prevent shock and give your plants a smooth transition are:

Provide adequate light

No mater what type of light your plants receive inside, it's consider lower light conditions compared to natural sunlight outside. One way to help this, is to provide your plants with grow lights. Grow lights can be used as supplement lighting or even as the main source of light for indoor plants. The extra light will greatly reduce the amount of leaf drop and will make the transition indoors, more smooth.

Extra humidity

The next thing your can do to help your plants when you bring them inside for winter, is to add extra humidity. The indoors can be especially dry in the winter months and most tropical plants are not happy in dry conditions.

One way you can add extra humidity is by grouping your plants together and adding a humidifier next to them. By grouping them together, you're creating a micro environment and this will drastically help raise the humidity in that surrounding area, especially during watering day. 

You could also invest in a cabinet or greenhouse and place your plants inside. Having a enclosed space like a greenhouse is the perfect way to create the ideal growing environment for your plants.


Trailing on plant climbing trellis from Treleaf

Trailing plant climbing Monstrella trellis from Treleaf

How do you winterize plants indoors? - Winter plant care tips

In order to winterize plants for the indoors, you'll need to provide them with enough light, water, and humidity. Make sure that your plants have plenty of light - either natural or artificial light, as mentioned earlier.

three potted houseplants next to a window

Potted houseplants in a window sill. Photo by Luther.M.E. Bottrill on Unsplash

You'll also need to keep an eye on your watering tendencies. You'll often hear or read people advising to cut back on watering your plants in the winter. Plants tend to go into dormancy and will stop growing or grow less in the colder, winter months. And inactive plant won't soak up as much water and, in many cases, will need less water.

However, if you have the heat blasting or if your plants are by a heat source, you may find your plants needing more water during this time. Heat can dry up a plant in a matter of a few days, especially if that plant needs to be repotted and/or is in a terra-cotta plant pot. 

Make sure you adjust your watering schedule and keep an eye on the soil, especially during the few two weeks you bring your plants back inside.


Fall and Winter decor

Plants, both small and large, make great home decor pieces. Pair your plants with a new wooden indoor support to display their full beauty and grace.

Houseplants displayed in a window on shelves and rack with trellises from Treleaf

Plant collection displayed in a window with trellises from Treleaf

Treleaf has some great options for those! Just pick out what works best for your aesthetics and your plants. You can even customize some with the colors of the season if you picked something from the BARE collection.

Trailing plant climbing a customized painted trellis

Hoya trailing up BARE Anthrulla trellis from Treleaf