I normally put all my houseplants outside for the spring and summer months. Over the years I have found that my houseplants thrive outside. In fact, they look so great in the fall that I am sorry that I have to bring them back into the house. Unfortunately, in my climate, I can’t leave my house plants outside for the winter, so I bring them all in and put them in any sunny window I can find in the house. In the past I have had problems with insects coming into the house on these outdoor plants. Last winter an army of ants emerged from an English ivy plant and took up residence in my bedroom. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your plants are free from insects and they transition well from the outdoors into your house. |
In my experience there are two types of insect problems that you may find with your houseplants. The first problem is that insects are living on the leaves of your plants and the second is that insects are living in the soil of the plant. It is important to note that even though you can’t see some insects with the naked eye they may still be there. Insects that live in the soil of your plants may be living on the surface of the soil at the base of the plant or they may have crawled in the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
There are some steps you can take to try to ensure that you don’t bring any insects into the house on your plants. First, examine your plants carefully. Insects live on the top of leaves and on the undersides, so be thorough. Any plants that show signs of severe infestations should be discarded. Sometimes you must sacrifice one plant to protect the lives of all the others. Use your garden hose to spray off all the plants before you bring them in. Small plants can be submerged in a bucket of water and left there for 10 to 15 minutes to get rid of insects on the leaves. This also helps to get rid of any bugs that may be living in the soil. Of course, you shouldn't do this with plants that typically like dry conditions, like cactus and succulents. If you find any stubborn infestations on a favourite plant you can purchase an insecticidal soap at the garden center.
It is a good idea to take plant the plant out of its pot and examine the soil to make sure there is nothing living in the soil before you bring the plant in. If you see any bugs, remove them. You can even shake the soil off the roots and re-pot the plant in new soil. This will help give the plant a fresh start for the winter. If replanting isn't an option, an insecticide applied to the top layer of soil should kill any remaining insects once you have picked off any that you can see.
Look in Canadian magazines for more information on fall gardening techniques. There are plenty of great tips on the internet and in magazines on how to help you keep your plants healthy in your home during the winter.
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