Bringing your Patio Plants in for Winter

Losing those beautiful tropicals on your patio every year is a shame- but it can be avoided! Of course they cannot stay outside because our winters are too cold, but you can bring them inside and it is easier than you may think!


Usually early to mid-September is the best time to make the move. This is when temperatures start to drop- especially at night. You do not want your tropical plant outside if the temperature drops below 7°C.


•First, you want to inspect your plants for insects or diseases. Bringing these pests into your house can cause a problem for other houseplants. If you see any signs of insects or disease, identify them and treat as appropriate. To do this you can use our pest identification section or come in with a sample (in a closed container) and ask an expert. Some pests may also live in the soil and may not be as noticeable. Giving the pot a good soaking in luke warm water for about 15 minutes will help drive out any insects from the soil. Also, using a strong stream of water on the tops and undersides of leaves and on the stems will wash away any insects you may have missed on inspection.

•Next, slowly acclimatize your plant by bringing it indoors for short periods of time then bringing it back outside. It is recommended to start with indoors at night, then outdoors for the day. Throughout the next couple of weeks gradually decrease the amount of time it stays outside. Going from a high light level outside to a lower light level inside, your plant will probably drop some leaves. This is pretty typical and they should eventually grow back once it readjusts.

Repot or Prune?

This will depend on how big you want your plant to get. If you want it to get larger, repot your plant into a larger pot. When choosing your pot, make sure it is at least 2 inches larger than the current one. Prune only the dead or damaged branches.  If you want to maintain its current size and shape, prune no more than 1/3 off the top and sides. However much you prune on top, you must prune a proportional amount off the roots!

Do not water your plant as much as you did when it was outside. The light levels inside are lower than they were outside, so the plant is drying out less often. Let the soil dry out between waterings (and water succulents even less). During the winter months reduce fertilizing to very little or not at all. Your plant is in a slight dormancy during this time and will not need to be fed.