Bring in plants when temps cool down

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Temperatures are cooling down, time to bring in the houseplants

Now that we are past the USDA average frost date, we can expect a frost at any time. Don’t let it sneak up on you.

Go ahead and prepare your houseplants, which you’ve had outdoors all summer, to be brought inside.

Since I have just moved, I prepared mine early and they are being slowly moved indoors a couple at a time.

I fertilized them one last time and watered them thoroughly.

Once the water had soaked into the soil and the pot has drained, I started bringing them into the house.

Remember that houseplants don’t like drafts and require some sunlight. Don’t place them near HVAC vents.

Here’s a short list of where some plants like to be:

Direct light: cacti, Norfolk Island pines, most palms, weeping figs and most succulents.

Medium light: philodendrons, pothos’, anthuriums, most ferns, pepperomias, spider plants, dracaenas, arbicolas, rubber trees and scheffeleras.

Low light: Spathiphyllum (peace lily), nepthytis’, sansevierias and Chinese evergreens.

Once you have all of your plants indoors, back off on the fertilizer. I rarely fertilize mine until spring.

That is because you will not be watering as often as you do in the summer and you run the risk of salt build up in your soil.

You can, however use organic soil amendments such as fish emulsion or worm castings as a source for nutrients without much danger of damaging your houseplants.

If you are trying to get your succulents (such as: dessert rose or jade plant) or your cacti (such as: Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti) to bloom, leave them outside in the shade for 10 to 15 40-degree nights; only water them if they get bone dry and do not fertilize.

When you bring them in, water them well, fertilize them and place them in bright light. You should see bloom buds within a few weeks.

If after the buds appear the plants start dropping the buds, stop watering them. Only water when they get mostly dry.

Don’t leave the plants out in the frosty weather. They’ll get mad at you and let you know it.

or more on these and other gardening tips, listen to Home Grown Tomatoes every Saturday morning from 6 till 8 on 101.1 FM, The Source and log on to