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When Do I Bring My House Plants Indoors?

My wife loves gardening and has just started bringing our house plants inside after their summer vacation on the patio. So how can you tell when it’s the right time to bring them in?

You should bring your house plants indoors in the fall, when outside temperatures drop to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If you have tropical plants, they can become damaged if temperatures outdoors dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let’s dig down (pun intended) into the topic of bringing house plants indoors in more detail, and discover how you need to prepare both your home and plants to transfer them inside for the winter…

When Do I Bring House Plants Indoors?

When Should House Plants Come Inside?

Many people allow their houseplants to go for a little vacation or change of scenery during the sunny summer months by placing them outside or on a sun-filled back or front porch area. When fall comes around it’s time to take them inside again, usually when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The issue is that those people are then not sure when to bring their plants inside of the house for the winter months. This issue also applies to new plants that were purchased specifically for the outside areas of your house but can also survive indoors.

The conditions inside your home are obviously very different from the conditions outside of your house so you will want to slowly integrate your house plants from the outside areas to the inside of your home. A sudden change in temperature, the amount of light, and the level of humidity can be very damaging to plants and cause their leaves to yellow, wilt, dieback, or even kill them.          

To get your houseplant ready for their big move back inside your house, you’ll want to clean your windows. A little fall cleaning is good in general when do you want to take extra time and cleaning your windows.

You will need to clean your windows thoroughly inside and out they said that your plants will receive an adequate amount of light during the winter months. If some of your plants have to be repotted, make sure you have plenty of potting soil to plant them in along with the proper flower pods or containers and any supplies you may need to have on hand throughout the winter.          

Another great idea is to install some ceiling hooks so that you can hang plants in front of the window. You can also put up wide shelving to set your plants on near a window. Be sure that you put down waterproof material of some sort, a layer of gravel, or even a tray so that you can keep your plants hydrated properly throughout the winter and avoid any messes from the water.     

What Outside Temperature is Too Cold For Indoor Plants?        

Temperatures 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below are too cold for your plants. If you have tropical plants, they can become damaged if temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will need to pay special attention to the weather, depending on where you live, because it can fluctuate greatly from daytime hours to nighttime hours. For example, if you live in Ohio, it is common for people to need air conditioners on during the day into the month of October, but have their furnaces on at night. Temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day but can dip below 50 at night.

Is My House Too Cold For House Plants?

As many house plants are considered tropical plants, they will do better in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and at about 10 degrees cooler during the night. The rule of keeping temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit definitely applies to the inside of your home.

You can adjust your thermostat to the temperature that you are comfortable with but keep in mind that you have to think of your plants also and what is best for them. Be sure that you do not place your plants in areas where there is a very cold draft or, on the other side of the spectrum, do not place them near your heat source either. This includes fireplaces and gas or electric heaters.

Although plants need to be near windows so they receive their much-needed natural light throughout the daytime, you will want to ensure that your plants are placed several inches away from the window to avoid any cold drafts of air.

If your windows tend to frost over during the night, be sure to move your plants away from the windows around dusk time each evening. You can also use a thick window shade or blind to pull down in the evening or apply some type of insulating material over your windows, including plastic.

You will also want to pay attention to the level of humidity in your house during the winter. Some houses only have about 10 percent of relative humidity during the winter but your plants will need 40 to 50 percent to stay healthy. You can get a small barometer to place in your house to check the humidity level and if it is too low, you can use a humidifier to add more humidity into the air.

What Do You Spray On Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors? (To Deter Bugs)

Before you bring your houseplants back inside for the winter, you will want to inspect them for any insects or diseases. The last thing you want to do is end up with a bunch of nasty bugs in your house.

You can soak the pots your plants are inside of in a tub filled with some lukewarm water for about 15 minutes which will force any insects that are in the soil out of it. The following video is a great resource to show you how to do this:

If there are any snails, earthworms, or other insects that burrowed down into the dirt, you will probably want to re-pot your plants. You can place a piece of wire screen over the pot’s drainage hole to keep them out of the dirt when you put your plants back outside next summer.

You can also spray away the bugs, especially if they are bugs with a softer body, such as spiders, mites, whiteflies, or mealybugs. While you can purchase sprays at the store or online that contain harmful pesticides or their organic counterparts, you can also make your own spray.

Just mix one tablespoon of liquid dish soap that is fragrance and bleach-free with one-quarter cup of vegetable oil. Put the mixture into a spray bottle then fill it up with warm water. Shake it well then spray it on your plants once per week to get rid of any pesky bugs.

Should I Bring My Plants Indoors When it Rains?

You should bring your plants indoors during the night if it will be rainy in wait until the overcast clears to put them back outside. Make sure when you put them back outside that they are not in direct sunlight or they can get scorched since they are wet.

You will also want to bring plants indoors during the day or night if it rains in the rain is accompanied by wind since the wind can be very damaging to potted plants.

Winterizing house plants

How Do You Winterize House Plants?

When fall arrives and the leaves on the trees begin to change color, it is time to begin integrating your plants back inside of your house. Below are the steps to follow to winterize your beautiful plants.

  • Begin bringing your plants indoors before nighttime arrives when the outdoor temperature begins to dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Be sure to inspect the plants for any insects or diseases before bringing them inside. You can shower your plants with a garden hose there is one a misty setting and then soak the pots of your plants in a tub of lukewarm water for about 10 minutes.
  • If needed, re-pot your plants into larger containers, making sure to go up one size.
  • Trim any dead leaves or branches with a pruning tool or a pair of sharp scissors before bringing your plants inside.
  • To avoid shocking your houseplants when you bring them back inside, bring them in gradually so they can get used to the reduced lighting.
  • Be sure to place your plants away from any cold, drafty areas and on the flip side, away from any heat source.
  • Be sure to keep your plants hydrated then enjoy them until you are ready to set them back outside next spring.

Summary: When Should I Bring My Plants Inside?

My wife has done a great job bringing in all the house plants this year, many of them have been repotted and look great on the various shelves and window sills she’s put them on around the house.

I hope this article helps you when it comes to bringing your plants indoors when their summer vacation is over. It’s certainly worth the effort to keep them healthy and flourishing until next spring rolls around 🙂

Mark H.

Homeowner and property investor Mark H. aspires to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >