Over-Wintering your Houseplants or Annuals?

One of the most asked questions we get is how you can bring in outdoor plants without the bugs. This process is actually fairly simple and can help reduce the likelihood of insect hitch-hiking on your plants.

To get started, you'll need a large tub (or your bathtub), insecticidal soap concentrate, a large kitchen strainer or sieve, and old towels. If you're using a new pot or are digging up these plants from the ground, you might also need fresh potting soil and cleaned nursery pots. 

Start by filling a large tub with room-temperature water.
Add insecticidal soap concentrate to your tub.

We highly recommend the Safer’s brand of End-All because it targets the difficult-to-destroy bugs and eggs like mealy-worms, aphids, and whiteflies.
If you use a home-made solution, be sure that the soap you are using DOES NOT contain any degreasers or detergents.
Soaps like Dawn, Cascade, or Palmolive are not plant-safe.

1: Before de-bugging or re-potting, it is important to do a full inspection of your houseplant. Prune off any weak leaves, mildew spots, or weak growth. Using a pair of clean pruning shears or scissors, cut back any diseased or damaged portions of the plant.
Citrus plants, figs, and olive plants should be cut back by 1/3 to help transition into a lower light environment.

2: Try and do this on a day where the soil is dry- usually your watering day. Make sure your plants are in plastic nursery pots with drainage holes. If they aren’t, or were planted in the ground, you can always dig them up and temporarily plant them in plastic nursery pots. Gently spray the foliage with your hose or shower head to remove any dirt, dust, or easily shaken bugs.

3: Dunk the potted portion of your houseplant into the diluted insecticidal solution. Wait until the bubbles stop, then gently press down on the soil to help release any remaining air bubbles. Soak the plant for a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes. If your houseplant has large leaves or stems (like a monstera plant, ferns, or alocasia), use a damp cloth with the diluted insecticidal soap mix and gently clean off the foliage and stems.

4: While the plant is soaking, consider what pot it will be going into. If you are re-using the outdoor-pot, make sure that you scrub it with warm water and diluted insecticidal soap. This will kill and remove any bugs or fungus hiding on the inside of the pots. Ensure that there is drainage for the plant. If there are no drainage holes, use a nursery pot as an insert or using pea stone  at the bottom.

5: When it is time to remove the houseplant from its bath, use a sieve to remove any top-scum or dead plant material that has floated up. When re-potting, choose a good soil for the type of houseplants. For tropical plants like monsteras, philodendrons, ferns, and Ficus, use a loamy soil with lots of natural drainage (like cocoa coir or orchid bark). For succulents and cacti, use a sandy soil mix.

6: Quarantine: Even though it is really tempting to put your outdoor plants in a new indoor location, keep these plants away from any other indoor plants. Even though you did all the steps right, you don’t want to risk spreading bugs or leftover fungus. Keep these plants in an indirect sunny spot for 10-14 days. If you see any signs of insects or bacteria, use a diluted spray of end-all or defender.