As a horticulturalist and avid grower of many types of plants I am always sad to see, the end of the growing season. The threat of frost or hard freeze is always looming as we approach the late days of October which makes me feel anxious to take inventory of my tropical plant collection and prepare the indoors for their long winters stay. I don’t have a greenhouse, nor a sunroom,but that doesn’t stop me from bringing in all my favorite tropical houseplants and succulent gardens.
Follow the Sun
Take note of where the sun plays upon the rooms in your home. Most tropicals prefer warm, bright surroundings. Bright light with temps in the 60 -70 degree range during the day is ideal. Temperatures above 80 degrees can cause poor air circulation, which can lead to insect problems down the road.
Cut back any plants that are too tall.
Try and be selective when deciding what plants you want to over winter. For example, take serious inventory of your potted tropicals. Bring in only what you have room for. If you are overwintering hibiscus decide if that plant will have enough light to continue actively growing and flowering during the winter. If not consider cutting the plant back approximately 1/3 and let it go dormant. If you are considering bringing in annuals, like geraniums, lantana, or coleus, find the sunniest location and modestly cut back, and or take cuttings from them. Tropical foliage plants are great to over winter, because they enhance the beauty and air quality in your home. Succulents are the easiest to maintain and can adapt to, not only bright light indirect, but moderate light as well.
Allow plants to dry thoroughly between each watering. Allowing plants to dry out minimizes fungus gnat problems. Be sure to hose down the plants with water and add a granular systemic to the soil every 4-6 weeks to ensure your plants stay happy and healthy.
Overwintering tropicals can be a fun project for the winter months. It will keep your hands in the soil and your passion for gardening the entire year.