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Bringing your plants indoors.. what comes with them?

September 24, 2013

Fall is in the air – the leaves are falling, nights are getting cooler and it’s close to time to bring your indoor plants back inside. But before you do, there are few things you should do to prevent hitchhiking pests from entering your home. Many pests like to dwell in the soil and leaves of houseplants, such as leaf dwellers and soil dwellers.

Aphids, spider mites and mealy bugs like to attack the leaves of plants. Other hitchhiking pests include spiders, gnats and lacewings. Before bringing your plants inside, be sure to carefully examine the leaves and stems. Inspect the underside of leaves – the place where most pests like to hang out. The easiest way to remove pests is to hose down the plant, using a nozzle on the hose to direct water underneath the foliage. Ensure the water is set to a gentle spray. If the jet of water is too hard, it will dislodge pests but may also tear the leaves from the stems. For smaller plants, consider dunking them in a 5-gallon bucket of water for 15 minutes. If insects are still spotted on plants after spraying or dunking, an insecticide can be applied. Avoid allowing pests to spread by isolating infested plants from others after moving it inside. Remember to make regular visual inspections for several weeks to ensure all pests are gone.

Insects also like to set up housekeeping in the soil of houseplants. Soil-dwelling pests are also known as slugs, sow bugs, earwigs, fungus gnats and ants. Plants in small containers can be slipped out of their pots so you can easily inspect the outside layer of soil near the drainage holes. Slugs, sow bugs and ants are typically seen here and can be removed by hand or with a stick. Fungus gnats and earwigs typically reside in the upper regions of the soil. Remove any dead flowers, leaves and foliage and dunk the entire plant in water as described above. Houseplants in large containers can have insecticides applied directly to the soil and areas near the drainage holes.

Lastly, bring your plants in gradually, allowing time for them to adjust to the change in temperatures and lighting. Most indoor plants will acclimate well if the change is gradual. But don't wait until a frost to bring them in, as your plants will have a difficult time adjusting to a dry heated home.

Authored By: ScherZinger

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