We have had some of our houseplants outdoors for summer, but now that it’s time to bring them back in, how do we get rid of the bugs and insects that are on the plants and in the pots?
Indoor plants that spend the summer outdoors should be brought back inside well before nights begin to get too cool. Start the process early so you won’t be hustling your plants into a warm area on the evening before the first predicted frost, and so you’ll have time to deal with insects that may try to hitchhike into your home.
In the book Month-By-Month Gardening in Tennessee & Kentucky, garden author Judy Lowe provides this advice on getting houseplants ready to return indoors:
“Remove all yellowed or damaged leaves and faded flowers. Clean all foliage, top and bottom. Clean splattered dirt off the pots. If containers can’t be scrubbed clean, consider new pots or hide the pots in a plastic-lined basket or a decorative container.”
Here’s how Lowe suggests you make sure there are no unwelcome visitors coming in with the returning houseplants:
“Mix up a tub or bucket of 5 parts warm water and 1 part insecticidal soap. Remove plants from their pots, place them in the mixture, and let the plants stand for an hour.” Lowe says that even after doing this, it’s a good idea to keep plants that spent summer outdoors isolated for a few weeks from plants that stayed inside. “Sometimes a stray insect manages to get in anyway, or insect eggs hatch,” she writes. “The problem will be easier to deal with when you can keep the infestation confined to one or two plants.”