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Bringing plants inside for winter: Digging in with gardenstead Ep. 10

Aaron Deacon returns to the podcast to chat with Katie about bringing plants indoors for winter in the latest instalment of Digging in with gardenstead.

In the episode, Aaron answers our community’s pressing questions: when to bring plants indoors, how to bring plants inside without bugs hitchhiking along, where to put plants once they’re inside, grow lights, watering and how to get rid of pests if they do make it indoors on your plants. Plus, do we need to bring ALL of our plants in? And what about watering?

In other words, he covers a lot of ground in one jam-packed 20 minute episode. So, if you have questions about bringing plants inside for winter, press play below and get your insecticidal soap and diatomaceous earth ready.

When, why and how to bring plants inside for winter

Show notes

Wondering if your specific question is covered in this episode of the pod? Check the notes below! And if it’s not covered, head on over to the episode on our YouTube channel and pop your query into the comments. One of our experts will be happy to answer it for you, and we might even include it in our next episode with Aaron.

When should we bring outdoor plants indoors?

The key factor here, Aaron says, is overnight temperatures. Once it regularly starts to go below 7˚C (45˚F) overnight, it’s time to bring plants in. Second to that, learn the predicted frost dates for your region. A great source he mentions (and Katie agrees) is [The Old] Farmer’s Almanac (click the link to go directly to their region-by-region list of frost dates).

Where should we put our plants after we bring them in?

Of course, it depends on the plant. Some plants will go happily go dormant over the winter. But, if you’re bringing in plants that you’d like to maintain over the winter, placing them in south-facing windows is best. Another option is to put your plants under grow lights (which Aaron discusses more later in the episode). Aaron also touches on storing bulbs and tubers for winter — a method Katie likens to storing potatoes (and she’s quite right!).

How to bring plants indoors (without bugs)

It’s possible that this is THE most popular question in our community right now. Aaron shares his tips for how to treat plants before you bring them inside to prevent hitchhikers from coming in — and yes, it does involve insecticidal soap and/or diatomaceous earth, starting about a week before you plan to bring your plants indoors.

What plants need to come indoors

The short answer here is — anything that can’t handle overnight temperatures below 7˚C (45˚F). Tropical plants, tender annuals and herbs that you’d like to maintain throughout winter, tender tubers, bulbs and rhizomes, all of these need to come inside. Perennials can stay outside, plus any annuals you’re fine with dying back can stay outside to decompose in the soil as nutrients for next year’s garden.

What to do if pests/bug get inside (despite our best efforts)?

As you can imagine, once again, the answer is: insecticidal soap and/or diatomaceous earth. Get your sprayer, a fair bit of patience and some serious determination in hand, and get spraying. Aaron’s advice here is invaluable, and we hope you tune in to get it. He also talks about what to do about fungus gnats (and don’t we all have an issue with those little flying pests this year?).

Why it’s so easy to overwater potted plants

Think container size, temperature, and the amount of sun and heat your plants will receive. All of this plays into how much water your plants will need once they’re indoors. Plus, when you water a potted plant, it’s easy enough to mistake the dryness of the top inch of soil as an indicator of how much water is in the pot. Even if the top inch is dry, toward the bottom of the pot, soil could be wet or even water-logged. (Which is why Aaron is a big fan of bottom-watering!)

Grow lights, and how to choose a good one

If you want your plants to thrive indoors, you may want to invest in a grow light. Particularly if you want herbs to thrive inside — which, Aaron recommends, should get 10 hours of light per day, something that’s just not possible in the northern hemisphere in winter.

A grow light can provide that get close to replicating the natural light your plants need, provided you buy a full-spectrum grow light. For more specific details, pop in to the episode at around 15:46, where Aaron describes what specs you should be looking for in your grow light.

Share your comments!

We hope this episode answers your questions about bringing plants inside for winter. We’d love to know what you think! Leave a comment on the episode at YouTube, and while you’re there, why not subscribe to our channel? We share new videos every week.

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