Bring the Outdoors In
Save the Plants and Dress Up Your Home
by Sandy Swegel
If early freezes haven’t killed all your plants, there’s still time to think about how to bring the outdoors in by bringing some of your favorite plants indoors. You can bring in plants that thrive indoors to live on a sunny windowsill or you can bring in plants that will otherwise die and that you don’t want to lose, to overwinter in your cold garage.
First things First. The first thing before any plant comes indoors is to make sure it doesn’t have bugs or diseases. Fall often brings outbreaks of aphids so if your plant is full of aphids, treat the pests first: hose off the bugs, or soak the entire plant, roots and soil and all in some soapy water. Once cleaned up, you can cut it to size if needed and bring it to a sunny spot.
Watering is Different Inside My rosemary plant needs almost no supplemental water when it’s growing outside in the ground. I’ve killed more than a couple of rosemary by assuming that’s the same conditions indoors. The stress of heat and dry air of being indoors in a pot demands that I coddle the rosemary indoors a little and never ever let the soil dry out.
Saving plants in the dark in the garage.
Dahlias can be lifted. Pots of bulbs for spring can be planted and stored. Even geraniums can be kept in moist peat and overwintered to bloom again next year. That’s what the Swiss do…they aren’t about to repurchase all those geraniums than hang from balconies every year. If you live in a very dry climate, you may have to water the dormant plants every month so the soil doesn’t desiccate.
Plants that thrive indoors for me.
Geraniums Continual color, almost no bugs, and forgiving if I forget to water. Great in sunny windows.
Angel wing begonia I keep these in an indirect sun situation and water weekly. They bloom and bloom all winter.
Coleus All the wild colored coleus and other foliage plants will do well in bright conditions if you keep snipping off the seed heads. They can handle lower light but might get buggy.
Bougainvillea is my favorite. Its natural bloom time is winter and it is a stellar performer. Messy though since it drops a zillion dead blossoms.
Hibiscus. So pretty, so ever blooming in a sunny spot. So likely to get hundreds of aphids. Keep washing the aphids off and hibiscus will make you smile all year. Some dogs love to eat the spent flowers….they’re edible so it doesn’t hurt them unless you’re using chemicals to treat the aphids.
An Herb Pot Nothing beats fresh herbs for winter roasted vegetables and savory dishes. Rosemary, oregano, thyme all thrive with light.
Winter doesn’t have to be cold and gray….bring some outdoor color and pizazz in.
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