Into the garden!

by on October 25, 2010

Bring Your Plants Indoors — the Right Way

safe transition indoors
Summer is when houseplants get to hang out with the big kids — they get to live outdoors with our garden plants. Come fall, though, they’re begging to be brought back indoors.

Follow these tips for a safe transition between outdoors and indoors:

Choose well
While you may want to bring in all of your favorites, consider the plant’s growing requirements and your indoor conditions. Factors like low humidity and low light can keep some plants from surviving indoors the entire winter.

Acclimate them gradually
Less direct sunlight, less air movement, and lower humidity can be shocking to plants. Move full-sun plants to a shady spot for a couple of weeks before bringing them in. Move shade lovers inside for a few hours a day, increasing the amount of time daily.

Cut them back
Once your plants are ready to move indoors, it helps to cut many of them back slightly (by as much as a quarter, depending on the plant). Cutting them back stimulates the new growth that will adjust to indoor conditions. Much of the old foliage may drop from the plant.

Watch for insects
As you move your plants inside, look carefully for pests such as spider mites or whiteflies. It’s helpful to examine plants with a magnifying glass. To help remove either insects or their eggs from a plant, wash the plant well with room-temperature water before bringing the plant inside. Wash both the tops and the bottoms of the leaves. Many insects hide on the leaves’ undersides.

Site them well
Choose a brightly lit spot that’s protected from hot and cold drafts. It’s best to keep the plants cool, too. While you might want the inside air at 75ºF, it may be too warm. Most plants prefer daytime temperatures of 70ºF or less and 55 to 60ºF at night.Water properly
During the winter, days are shorter and there’s generally less light, so most plants will rest till early spring. Therefore, only water them when the soil feels dry to the touch, but before the foliage wilts. Don’t worry about fertilizing most indoor plant much until the days get longer and plants start to put on new growth next February, March, or April.

Boost humidity
In most homes, the amount of relative humidity is dangerously low for plants. Brown leaf tips or edges are often a sign of low humidity levels. To encourage enough humidity for your plants, site them close together (they give off moisture as they breathe) or set them on oversize trays of sand or pebbles. Fill the tray with water so the bottom of the pot sits above the water line. As the moisture in the tray evaporates, it goes into the air and is available for your plants.

While many gardeners believe that misting their plants helps, it’s not a good long-term solution as it only adds moisture for a short time. As soon as the mist evaporates, it no longer adds to the humidity.

A Cleaner, Greener Way to Deter Deer and Rabbits

Plant Pro-Tec Deer & Rabbit RepellentHave you noticed (with dismay) that your garden has turned into an all-you-can-eat buffet for deer and rabbits? If so, it’s time to get out the big guns to deter those four-legged feasters.

No, we’re not talking about actual guns. We’re talking about Plant Pro-Tec Deer & Rabbit Repellent. Just clip the vial to a plant, fence, or plant stake, and you’re on your way to saving your garden.

The vials are filled with highly concentrated garlic oil, which discourages garden pests for six to eight months. Unlike with messy sprays, you don’t have to fuss with reapplying the repellent every time it rains. The other cool thing is that while other repellents begin to break down when coming into contact with air, Plant Pro-Tec slowly releases active ingredients over time, keeping the odor strong and effective.

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