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Bringing plants back inside

As summer winds down and night-time temperatures start to take a dip.That means that our beautiful tropical plants will soon be heading indoors.

Days usually remain warm enough right through September, so let your plants soak up the last rays of sunshine and simply cover them when temperatures drop below 12o C.

Plants to bring indoors:

  • Hibiscus
  • Palm plants
  • Geraniums and coleus
  • Cacti and succulents (kalanchoe, crassula)
  • Tropical plants taken outside in the spring: ficus, philodendrons, colocasia
  • Certain herbs: rosemary, basil, chives, parsley

Do not prune flowering plants before bringing them inside. They will bloom right up to early winter, drawing on their reserves of sugars and starch stored during the summer. As the days become shorter, you'll see them fade and lose their vigour. This is the time to prune branches back by a third to renew and preserve a plant's structure. A second pruning will be necessary in January to remove any spindly, new winter shoots.

And bulbs?

Bring inside canna, begonia and dahlia tubers and bulbs, and gladiola corms. No need to clean them first. Store in a dark, cool and dry place.

A good cleaning

First step before bringing your plants indoors: cleaning!

  • Approximately 15 days prior to bringing in your plants, treat foliage with an insecticidal soap.
  • Repeat the treatment 4 or 5 days before bringing them in.
  • Acclimatize plants for 7 to 10 days - inside at night and outside during the day, providing minimum warmth requirements are met.
  • Check for insects, aphids, scales, spider mites, and thrips.
  • Remove infected stems and leaves.
  • Place the plant, in its pot, in soapy water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Clean both stems and leaves with soapy water.
  • Place plants in a bright location that is far from a heat source. Plants require plenty of indirect light, but direct sunlight should be avoided.
  • If a plant's roots are visible or if the plant looks cramped for space, it's time to repot.
  • Monitor your plants closely when you water them (branches and leaf undersides). Insects can reappear due to the warmth of the house.

Do your plants need debugging?

  • Spray both sides of leaves with either black soap or insecticidal soap.
  • Thoroughly rinse both sides of leaves.
  • Dip the plant in its pot in water containing insecticidal soap for at least 30 minutes.
  • Let water drain.


  • To promote even growth, turn plant pots a ¼ turn every time you water, since plants will grow towards a light source.
  • Add a half measure of fertilizer in September, October, November and December. Start back with full measures in February.
  • For plants you did not repot in the fall, provide them with fresh soil (and fertilizer) in preparation for the spring