So, it’s time to think about saving plants from the cold. Here at Sunnyside we track the daily temps, the lows in particular, this time of year with great care. Tropical plants/house plants, and most annuals, are sensitive to temps below 45 degrees. BRING IN the plants you want to save from MN winter. At Sunnyside we encourage you all season long to use popular tropical houseplants as accents in your summer containers. These beautiful foliage plants are usually the easiest to transition to indoors.
Find these 3 things to be successful: a sunny window, a clean pot and a fresh bag of potting mix. A sunny window is important because daylight is becoming less and less available. Low light can affect our plants in a negative way. Be prepared to accept that your plants are going to go through a slow down. Low light will cause your plants to slow photosynthesis, they will likely drop leaves, the need for water may become less and your plant will desire little to no plant food in these slow times. THIS IS ALL OK.
Next up, repotting your plants in fresh potting mix as you transition them inside will give them all the nutrients they will need until March. I want to stress that you use fresh potting mix, not topsoil or manure or garden dirt (there are a lot of mysterious goings on in bags of dirt-looking stuff from the garage). I like to use this analogy with my friends, dirt in a bag isn’t just dirt in a bag, like paint isn’t just paint. There are different kinds of dirt (and paint) for different applications. Would you paint your house and your fingernails with the same kind of paint? Nope, the same goes for dirts, soils and mixes. Look for anything labeled Potting Mix. Potting Mix is a healthy blend of light, nutrient rich material that you plants need and want.
The pot you use to plant in should be big enough and deep enough to contain the plant’s roots and some additional soil. Your pot should have a hole for drainage and a saucer underneath to collect a fair amount of water. Big saucers are especially important if you plan on leaving your home for a few days or more in the coming winter months, as they can be filled with water for slow uptake from the plant’s roots.
As an addendum to the 3 three things you need to bring in your tropical plants, I would like to mention insect control should start from day one. Come talk to a Sunnyside Staff to find out what you should be using so that you don’t have a sick plant to contend with come February.