Sep 9, 2020

Outdoor Living

Winterizing Plants

Winterizing your plants is a simple way to ensure they survive the cold winter months. Learn how with these tips and tricks!

Tips to give your plants the winter vacation they deserve

Even the most experienced gardeners get a little nervous when the planting and growing season begins to pass, and Old Man Winter comes calling. Cold winds and frigid temperatures can often feel like they’re out to destroy all the hard work put into our flora during the summer months —but there are some effective ways to save our favourite plants from being frostbitten and forgotten. Rümi is here to help you take your green friends on a little winter vacation and transition those outdoor darlings into houseplants that can thrive and survive.

Not only does this wintering process save your plants from a chilling end, it will also provide you and your home with extra greenery, fresh oxygen and good vibrations during the dark months where we tend to feel cooped up and hungry for something that doesn’t resemble dead leaves or snow.  

When to make your move

Once the nighttime air becomes cool and crisp as temperatures drop, it’s time to start prepping those plants you enjoyed throughout the warmer seasons for their winter indoor home. A good rule of thumb is that a consistent nighttime temperature of 7 degrees Celsius or below is the sign that your pretty and tender outdoor annuals need to pack their pots and head for cover.

Pest control is the best control

First thing’s first: no one wants to bring in the dirt, dust and bugs that belong outdoors. Wash your plants with water while they’re still outside. Don’t be afraid to use a strong spray of water and apply some insecticidal soap to the foliage as well.

If you’re planning on transferring a plant that was growing in the ground instead of a container, it will need to be potted before it can cross your threshold. Make sure to use a container with holes for drainage and the right potting soil. You can’t use regular gardening soil, because it won’t drain as well and often shelters insects and disease.

Make sure the plant is dry before you bring it inside and double check for any freeloaders before introducing the plant into your house or apartment. Plant pests can multiply more rapidly indoors, and no one wants to be dealing with an infestation when they could be sipping hot cocoa.

Help them feel at home

Acclimation is important when it comes to getting your plants to thrive in their new environment. But even after pests are under control, your plants still aren’t indoor-approved. Move them to a shady spot outdoors for a few days before transferring them inside.

Once you make the transition indoors, it’s ok to cut their leaves back slightly; this will control their size while also encouraging new growth that’s already adapted to indoor life. Make sure your new indoor friends have a nice, bright area to enjoy. If that’s not possible, consider investing in some grow lights for your basement or office.  

Keep things fresh & moist

Humidity is key when it comes to houseplants. You should mist the plants a couple of times a week with a spray bottle. You can tell your plants are feeling parched if the leaf tips begin to dry out or the leaves start to drop. Don’t panic—some light leaf loss is normal after a plant makes its way indoors.

When it comes to watering your plants, be careful not to overwater during the winter months. Plants tend to drink very little during this time of year and only need hydration when the top one or two inches of soil dries out. When you see this, only a small amount of water is necessary. A little goes a long way!

When to feed your friends

Your new houseguests don’t really need fertilizer during the winter. In fact, don’t fertilize them at all until the final month before you plan on putting them back out for the spring. Once you get to that point, a weekly feeding with a half-strength solution of a liquid organic fertilizer should do the trick.

Indoor edibles

If you have an outdoor herb garden, there’s nothing better than bringing it indoors and using fresh ingredients to brighten up the soups and stews we tend to crave in colder months. Follow the steps above for any herbs you’re hoping to bring indoors as well.

If you didn’t get your herbs planted during the summer, it’s not too late. The Cole & Mason Self Watering Herb Keeper is a wonderful way to cultivate all of the herbs you’ll need to keep your kitchen cooking winter, spring, summer or fall. Whether your culinary playbook calls for thyme, oregano, chives, tarragon or any other beloved herb, this miracle machine grows them to perfection no matter the weather. Just clip what you need using herb scissors like these Berghoff Studio Multi-Blade Herb Scissors and you’re off to the races.

Transitioning your plants back outdoors in spring

Once spring has sprung and the nighttime temperatures are holding steady at 15-16 degrees Celsius, it’s safe to return your plants back outdoors. To ensure things go smoothly, place them next to the house in a shaded area and over the next five to seven days, gradually move them into brighter locations. A nice spot that gets the morning sun or dappled sunlight throughout the day is your best bet for a safe springtime transition.

Fresh greenery isn’t just for spring and summer. Enjoy your plants year-round if you follow a few simple tips to keep plants happy and healthy no matter the weather.

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