As the weather begins to cool, it’s time to start transitioning your outdoor garden indoors. This post will outline a few tips on how to move plants inside, and which plants fare best in the transition.
Not all plants can survive being pulled out of the ground and transferred inside. Larger plants with established root systems won’t like that too much— sorry giant tomato plant! Smaller plants, especially herbs, can be brought in and adapt well to potted life.
Herbs: Perennial herbs like oregano, thyme, and parsley can survive all but the harshest winters outdoors. If you live in an area where the temperature frequently drops below freezing you’ll want to dig up the entire root system + surrounding dirt and transplant in a pot that’s large enough to accommodate the root ball without having to stuff it in (no one wants to be forced into a shoe that’s two sizes too small).
Basil, sage and rosemary can all survive indoors if placed in a sunny south-facing window. Make cuttings from a mature plant and allow to root in water before potting. Chives can be dug up from your garden and potted. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back, then move to a cool spot inside for a few days before placing in your brightest window.
Flowers: Choose small-medium sized plants to transfer. The transplanting process is very stressful and smaller plants are more likely to survive. Again, be sure to dig up the whole root system. You can also take cuttings of annual flowers, like impatiens, begonias, geraniums, and coleus. They root easily in water or sand, and do well as winter houseplants. When spring comes around you can replant them again in your garden!
Creating Space For Your Plants
If you live in a small space like an apartment, you may have limited window room for all your plant babies. This means you’ll have to get creative. Build shelves, mount ceiling hangers, or start a vertical window garden with water bottles. You can even upcycle our Terra’s Kitchen containers to create mini planters for smaller plants or to start seeds.
It’s important to know how much sunlight your plants require to thrive: Full shade plants need only 1-2 hours of direct sunlight. Partial sun (or partial shade) plants need 4-6 hours of direct sun, and full sun plants require a minimum of 6 hours of direct light.
To calculate how many hours of direct sunlight your windows receive each day, write down the time the area first receives sunlight, and then the time when it is no longer directly lit. The difference between the two determines the hours of natural light available to the area. You’ll want to take this into consideration when choosing where to place your plants.
Indoor Gardening Tips:
- Clean windows— inside and out— to ensure the plants get adequate light. If the plant is used to a full day of bright light you can expect some leaves will yellow, wilt and fall off when moved to lower light. Put them in your sunniest window and wait for the plant to adjust— eventually new leaves will grow as the plant adapts to lower light.
- Dig up plants in the early morning or late evening when moisture in the plant is high.
- Check for bugs before moving your plants inside. Make a mixture of soapy water and spray all over stem, leaves, and dirt— this will kill most pests. Do this for several days before bringing the plant in to avoid a hatching of flies in your kitchen! *If the plant has been outside in a pot, soak the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes to force insects out of the soil— then spray them with your soapy water mix! If you’re still worried, repot the plant with fresh soil and spray the roots with soapy mix before replanting.
- Use potting soil— not garden soil which may have diseases/pests— and be sure to add a layer of gravel at the bottom of your pots (and mix some throughout) for adequate drainage.
- Do not overwater! This is the biggest killer of indoor plants. Water evaporates more slowly in a potted plant because there is less surface area and less exposure to light. The soil surface should be dry to the touch before watering again. If in doubt, don’t water. Succulents like even less water— allow soil to dry completely between watering. Don’t water in cloudy or rainy weather, as plants won’t get sufficient light to dry out.
Happy plants make a happy home. And since you’ve dedicated so much time to getting your plants resettled, why not leave the dinner prep to us?