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Time to bring in the plants

It’s officially time to get those tender houseplants and tropicals back indoors. They are probably the best looking plants on the patio or at the front door because you’ve been lovingly sneaking them water through this long dry spell but the cold evenings are coming and those leafy greens and stunning blooms need to come back inside for the winter.

Here is how I do it to make sure that no unwanted travellers come inside too!

I always start by taking the whole plant out of the pot and then scrubbing down the sides of the pot itself. One year I didn’t do this and brought an entire nest of spiders into my living room. Now that the roots are exposed, this is a good time to check for any rot or any girdling (thick roots that are circling the pot and choking the plant). Both of these should be removed and loosen up the soil on the sides to allow for some new growth. Once the pot has been scrubbed down with clean water, add a little fresh soil and replace the plant.

Now is the time to put your pot in a large garbage bag. The bag should be large enough to completely cover the pot and the soil…sometimes even the plant itself. Once this is done, you need to completely soak all of the leaves of the plant (front and back) and the top of the soil with insecticidal soap.

Insecticidal Soap contains fatty acids which breakdown the exoskeleton of the insect while not harming the plant. The key to this working however is that the soap has to come into contact with the insect while it is still wet. Spraying the soil is a great way to deal with all of the white flies and larva that hide during the day and come out at night. With the bag securely tied over the soil and the plant, you delay the dry time of the insecticidal soap and increase your chance of reaching more of the bugs.

Next, place your wrapped up plants in a cool dark space. Whether inside or out doesn’t really matter, just make sure that they are not exposed to the sun. The first time I did this, I let my hibiscus wrapped in a black garbage bag in the sun and cooked my plant. Leave you plants covered for at least 3 days. Even is you use a black bag, the plant has enough energy stored in its roots to make up for the lack of sunlight for this short period.

Once the bags come off, I like to give the leaves a quick rinse just to get the white residue off of them and into the house they go. Just remember, your plants are going to lose some leaves because of the lower humidity and light levels. This is normal. At least while the are making the adjustment, your won’t have swarms of little flies circling the room.


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