Bringing Plants Indoors for Winter

I have moved from a house with south facing windows and skylights to an apartment with low sun light. When I move my plants off the balcony for the winter what should I do differently?

Hi Lori,

First of all, when you move your plants indoors for the winter, do it gradually. If you do it all at once the plants may die from the shock of going from really good light to poorer light. So try to do a few hour inside at first, gradually increasing it over a 2 week period. The next important thing is to remember is that with lower light the plants will not dry out as quickly so be VERY CAREFUL NOT TO OVER WATER.

Bringing plants indoors into lower light also means the plant grows more slowly especially since it’s winter when many plants are resting. Most plants do not need to be fed during the winter months. If you feed a plant when they really don’t need it, the fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.   builds up in the soil. The salts in the plant food burn the roots and cause brown leaf tips on the plant.

Finally, be sure to check for outdoor insects and bugs before bringing your plants inside. Caterpillars are cute but not when they’re roaming around your house.