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How to Save Your Container Plants Over Winter

By: Jennifer HowellJennifer Howell
Don’t throw out tender plants at the end of the season! Save your container plants for next year by bringing a few favorites indoors as houseplants.


Save your container plants indoors over the winter

At the end of the season it’s hard to say goodbye to the plants that have done so well in containers — especially the out-of-the-ordinary ones. The good news is many of them can dress up the living room just as well. Let me walk you through how to save your container plants indoors over the winter so you can grow them outdoors again in spring.

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1. Prep plants for the indoors

When nighttime temperatures are around 40 to 45 degrees F, bring tender plants inside for the winter. You may want to repot them into lightweight nursery pots beforehand so they’re easier to transport and slip into a “dressier” pot indoors.

Rinse thoroughly, both upper and lower leaf surfaces, with the hose or a damp cloth to wash off any pests that might be hitchhiking. Moving them inside at night and out again during the day over several days, gradually increasing the amount of time they’re indoors, will help them acclimate.

2. Find the right spot in your house

Set the plants next to a sunny south-facing window and out of the direct line of heat vents — dry, warm air dries out foliage and potting mix. Temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F during the day and 6 to 8 degrees cooler at night are best for most plants. The shorter days and less intense light will cause slower growth so there’s no need to feed them.

3. Slowly acclimate the plants outdoors in spring

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed and daytime temperatures are 60 to 65 degrees F, your indoor plants can go outside again. To harden off plants off, move them in stages to avoid foliage burn from too much sun all at once. Start plants out in the shade for a few hours each day and work up to full sun, if needed.

How to overwinter 3 popular container plants indoors

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