Gardeners in cold climates are knowledgeable about the dreaded feeling that comes with the first frost. The great thing is that the ending of summer doesn’t need to mean saying goodbye to crops that you’ve nurtured. Many fragile perennials, container annuals and tropicals could survive as houseplants until spring. When your plants are in easy-to-move containers, then the occupation is simple. But even plants at the ground could be carefully dug up, potted and brought inside for fall and winter.

The best advice in regards to overwintering would be to plan ahead and bring your outside plants inside before it becomes imperative. Plants given time to adjust to their new surroundings will fare far better indoors than those that are transferred without a forethought.

The rule of thumb would be to bring plants indoors before night temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Some tropicals should be brought indoors when temperatures dip below 50 degrees, and orchids should be moved inside when temperatures fall to the 55- to 60-degree variety.


Acclimation into the inside. Because conditions vary widely between the inside and outside your house, a gradual introduction (or reintroduction) into the inside is vital. Sudden changes in temperature, humidity and light may cause irreversible trauma to crops, and in the least may result in yellowing leaves, wilting as well as partial departure.

Plants that have been outdoors in large light should be placed in similar light inside, such as close to a caked window or under fluorescent plant lights on a timer for 16 hours a day. To acclimate sun-loving outside plants into a dimmer indoor place, keep them in a shady place outdoors for a week or 2 prior to moving them inside.

Even with the best care, exterior plants can wither and droop when transferred inside. If some leaves turn yellow or fall off, don’t despair. Trim the dead growth, keep the humidity up levels and set the plants in a bright place, and they might recover once they are knowledgeable about the conditions in their new home.

Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors LLC

Facilitating a dormant period for woody species. Depending on the kinds of crops you’d love to overwinter, and the available area in your residence, you might gain from letting some woody species to go dormant at a sheltered garage, an unheated basement or an outside shed. Roses, hardy hibiscus, lavender, rosemary and shasta daisy are among those plants that could withstand, and also benefit from, a period of dormancy in winter. Maintain the strands from drying out entirely and make sure that the temperature stays approximately between 20 and 40 degrees. Dormant plants do not require fertilizer or light.

Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

Trimming and taking cuttings. When a container plant is becoming leggy over the summer, gently remove it out of its container and then prune the top and roots in equivalent proportions. Scrub the pot to rid of any infestation or parasites. Add fresh bagged potting soil (not garden dirt(which can have ailments), then replant.

That is also a fantastic time to take cuttings of annual flowers, such as impatiens, begonias, geraniums and coleus. They root easily in sand or water, and also make attractive houseplants, which may then be implanted in the garden come spring.

Crisp Architects

Setting the point. Thoroughly clean windows inside and out to allow as much light in as possible. A sunny window ledge, a shelf mounted along with a window or maybe a built-in recessed niche such as the one here could become a stunning flowering backyard all winter long. With the correct requirements, many flowering plants may provide winter blooms indoors. Geraniums, impatiens and begonias are a sure bet. For the adventurous, even Evolvulus and verbena could be overwintered too, though they will require an extremely bright place just like a sunroom or greenhouse.

Here is a quick collection of garden crops that may be overwintered or improved inside, some with greater success than others, but certainly worth a try: Abutilon, angel’s trumpet, begonia, bougainvillea, citrus (like lemons, calmondins and kumquats), coleus, ficus, geranium, hibiscus, impatiens, Mandevilla, passionflower, pentas, lavender, shasta daisy and all succulents.

Pest control. Always remember to inspect crops for infestation and disease, and treat the problem before bringing them inside. If you guess that there could be snails, worms or other insects burrowing in the dirt, soak the pot in a tub of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes, which will force them out. (Do not do so with plants that move semidormant or dormant in the winter, such as succulents and bulbs, because these plants need contaminated soil during their dormant period. Repot any such crops and put a piece of cable screening over the drainage hole to keep out the little critters next year.)

Before bringing plants inside, treat them using a natural parasitic plant spray for many weeks to get rid of little pests (those that you see and those that you don’t). Or you may spray on soap-tolerant plants using a soap solution, which may also be an effective nontoxic insecticide.

Dennison and Dampier Interior Design

Growing garden types inside year-around. Do not be shocked if a number of your overwintering experiments are so successful that you decide to make a permanent home inside for crops usually seen in the backyard. The collection seen here is magnificent and distinctive in addition to unexpected. Diligent trimming keeps the compact kinds and shows off the crops’ stunning colors.

The 3 chief plants flourishing in this volcano:
The Purple Heart blossom at the corner is particularly easy to grow; disperse it simply by sticking cuttings into dirt. The silver-leaved leaves plant on the table appears to be Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria); it is a wonderful decorative touch with this rustic, historic-looking room. The blooming bush is Abutilon, which, with proper pruning and repotting twice per year, could be considered a houseplant for many decades. Abutilon prefers a cool winter room and less water, followed by warmth and sufficient moisture in the summer.

Important considerations for overwintering outside plants:

Location: Generally the most effective indoor place for any outdoor backyard plant is close to a sunny window. Do not allow any leaves to get a cold window. Maintain the plants away from drafts in addition to heating vents. Since the dry winter air inside our homes can be damaging to overwintering, a well-lit toilet or laundry area (both humid) could be the ideal location for your plants. The leaves will turn brown and clear if there is not enough moisture in the air.

Timing: Allow plants to gradually acclimate into the very dry effects of indoor heating by bringing them inside before you actually begin heating your house.

Maintenance: Provide extra humidity by misting the leaves each day and consider placing the plant’s container onto a shallow water-filled tray lined with little stones, or so the pot stands around the rocks but not at the water. Throughout the cool seasons, many crops naturally become dormant or develop at a really slow pace. Watering should be performed only when the soil looks dry, but do water the plant deeply enough so that water drains out of the bottom of the pot to the tray or plate. Fertilizer is usually not suggested.

Cautions: Many plants are poisonous as well as riskier for children and animals than adults, so do your homework to determine which crops to stay out of reach if necessary.

See related