Gardening Tips ~ Returning House Plants Inside

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Article by Rahe Richards, a member of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society

Many of you may take some of your indoor plants outside to enjoy the summer.  But soon you need to bring them back in as cold weather begins to return. 

Here are the steps to return most house plants to the house:

• Between mid -September to early October or when frost is first expected, reverse the spring “hardening” process.  This means that you should put them in the garage at night. Then every day start moving them indoors for more and more of the daytime. Note: The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts our first frost to be on Oct. 3rd.
• Start to cut down on watering and fertilization as required by each plant.
• Place plants in a sheltered area like the garage or porch. 
• Spray each plant and soil with insecticidal soap and cover with plastic grocery or garbage bags.
• Let them sit for a couple of days to get rid of any bugs
• Give plants a good shower and let water flow over soil and let them dry.
• Plants are now ready for the house

For Christmas cactus: 
• Allow the first frost to occur before bringing a Christmas Cactus back indoors.

For Amaryllis:
• Dig out your Amaryllis and put it in a cool dark cupboard for about six weeks. Then repot the plant after cutting off its spent stem and leaves. By late October or early November, you will want to place it in a sunny place to grow and bloom. Blooming typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

For Dahlia, Canna Lily, and Calla Lily
• For Dahlias, allow the first frost before digging them out of the ground outdoors.
• Place in the garage for soil to dry out
• Place in a box with newspaper wrapped loosely around it. Place in a dark corner of the basement or in a cupboard. Keep an eye out every couple of weeks for spoilage. If too dry, sprinkle water on the soil.