Once the sunny days of summer are behind us and we begin to adjust to shorter days and lower temperatures, it’s time to bring any houseplants you brought outside for the summer back indoors.
If you brought your plants outside, you already know that there are factors to keep in mind when transitioning your plants from one environment to another. Below we’ll cover the steps you’ll want to take to make sure your plants stay happy and healthy when bringing them back indoors.
5 Steps to Bring Plants Inside
Step 1: Inspection
Before bringing any houseplants back inside, be sure to inspect them thoroughly. When plants are left outdoors, they become more susceptible to pests and disease, so you want to make sure to remove the risk of spreading either to the rest of your plant collection. Check your plant’s stems, tops and bottoms of leaves, and the nooks and crevices where both meet, since that’s where pests like to hide.
Step 2: Prune and Treat
If you do find that your plant has signs of pests, prune off any heavily infested foliage, and treat the plant as needed based on the pest at hand. To determine which pest you have and follow specific treatment plans for each type, check out our Plant Pest Identification Guide.
If there are no pests but you notice a fungal infection, remove any infected leaves to prevent the infection from spreading, and sterilize any tools (pruners, scissors, or similar) that come into contact with those leaves before using them on other houseplants.
Any lackluster or damaged foliage that has succumbed to heavy wind or unfavorable conditions can be pruned off the plant to enhance its appearance, and help the plant focus its energy on new growth! Leaf cleaning will also be beneficial if there are hard mineral deposits, dust, or debris on your plants' foliage, which can block chlorophyll from absorbing light.
Step 3: Quarantine
Once your plants are inspected, pruned, and groomed, you can integrate them back into your home. Once inside, we recommend quarantining them for a period of 1–2 weeks away from the rest of your plant collection. Pests can be very small (sometimes even microscopic), so at times even after treatment, they can pop up again. Even if you did not notice pests initially, their eggs could be dormant in the potting mix and hatch indoors. It never hurts to clean all plants, noticeable pests or not, with neem oil or similar before moving them inside.
Step 4: Inspect Again
After your plants have quarantined and acclimated to your home, you should inspect them thoroughly once more to ensure pests or diseases haven’t resurfaced. Prune and treat again if needed. For plants that are good to go, consider refreshing their potting mix and upgrading their planter size if needed. Check out our Houseplant Repotting Guide for signs you need to repot your plant and step-by-step instructions.
Step 5: Assimilate Plants
Once your plants are cleared from quarantine and are looking refreshed (and maybe repotted), you can assimilate them into the rest of your indoor jungle! Be sure to follow up with the proper care, including their preferred light level and watering frequency. If you notice some leaf drop—do not be alarmed—your plants are adjusting to the lower light levels of being indoors. If you need some extra light inside, consider adding a grow light.