When to Bring in House Plants

Just one of my overcrowded windows

As with many things, there are a lot of theories about bringing house plants that have spent time out of doors back inside in the cooler months. For some of you, it still isn’t cool outside. In other places, you may already have had a frost or freeze. So what is the best rule to follow?

For me, rather than trying to guess what the nighttime temperatures are going to do, I rely on length of daylight. I’m not sure about you, but by mid-August, I can already tell that the days are significantly shortening. And if I can tell, you can be sure that your plants are noticing too.

To be honest, if it weren’t so heart-breaking, that’s the point at which I should probably start bringing in my plants. Those of you at different latitudes obviously have different points when you notice this change, but whenever you begin to notice the changing light, that’s the point at which you should begin to transition your plants indoors.

If that’s far too early for you, there’s another option for you to try. This isn’t something I have done, but I have heard it recommended by a grower from Costa Farms (one of the huge commercial house plant growers) as something he does with his own plants.

He says that when he begins to transition his plants back indoors, he moves them first into a shady place for about 2 weeks to simulate the lower light in his home–then he moves them indoors. Why does he do this? He says he gets far less leaf loss this way.

This is exactly the reason I begin to move my plants in when I notice the days getting shorter. If I leave them out too much longer, once I bring them in, they do lose a lot of leaves–or as I joke, I need the leaf blower inside the house!

So keep this in mind now that the autumnal equinox is just past–and if you still have plants outside enjoying the lovely fall weather–perhaps it is time for a move!

2 thoughts on “When to Bring in House Plants

  1. nancy marie allen September 28, 2022 / 9:26 am

    Great tip about transitioning plants to shade for a while!

  2. tonytomeo September 30, 2022 / 1:09 am

    This is an amusing topic for me because so many plants that are houseplants in other regions live outside in my garden. It is more amusing at the moment because I happen to be in the Los Angeles region, with even more plants that should be houseplants elsewhere out in the garden. The backyard here is surrounded by a hedge of Ficus microcarpa ‘Nitida’. It will be in the 80s tomorrow.

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