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How To
Winterize Your Plants

You have potted tropical plants that have been outdoors or in a patio area and shortly you will have to protect your plants against colder temperatures coming soon

For tropical plants, "cold" starts at 55 degrees

Where folks create their own problems is when tropicals are suddenly brought indoors.  The tendency is to wait until the last possible day and then bring plants in ..and that doesn't work

One important "trick" is to pre-adjust your plants for indoor conditions and the main component is light and light hours

If you simply take a plant indoors, especially from a bright exposure, there is a serious shock from change of light and change of light hours.  Doing so will result in leaf yellowing and leaf loss, a little or a lot of leaf loss ...the reason is the change

Here's what you do...

About 3 weeks (at least) before you expect to take plants indoors, start adjusting light hours and light exposure.  To do so, move your outdoor potted plants to shade and thereafter to DEEP SHADE

Keep your plants in DEEP SHADE outdoors at least 15 days before you take plants indoors.  Deep shade pushes plants to get used to much lower light conditions (like indoors in your home) and much lower light hours per day ...and OUTDOORS, your plants will handle DEEP SHADE much better than lower light and fewer hours of light indoors

Also, starting at least 3 weeks before you expect to take plants indoors, back off on water a lot.  Provide only the absolute minimum water each plant will tolerate.  Also, in deep shade, less water is required automatically

For some reason, folks start thinking about fertilizer as fall approaches.  The fact is, in colder climates, your LAST FEEDING of the year should be in mid summer ...and then NO FOOD until late winter or early spring ...just before you will take your plants outdoors again.  Feed well during warm and hot months ...all plants

Avoiding fertilizer as time comes to go indoors is correct because plants slow growth way down and often stop in cooler/cold months.  Fertilizer is actually a stress on plants applied at the wrong times

Indoor location is very important. We get email with location ideas like 1. the garage, 2. the basement, etc., but tropical plants (all indoor plants are tropical plants) expect year around warmth and plenty of sunlight hours, daily basements are cold and dark, garages will be cold, both are very very poor choices

Indoors, a north window is almost impossible to be successful for your plants's dark all the time on the north side

East window is great and all plants love the morning sun

South probably is the most bright light hours

West may be OK, but west light can be too brief ...consider commercial Gro lights to provide added hours of sun-spectrum light ...and then you can have happy plants anywhere indoors

From deep shade outdoors, your plants are now as ready as they can be to live with you in your house.  Feeding is complete and water has been reduced to a minimum and will stay at a minimum all indoor months

Even with all this preparation, plants will still complain about the transition to indoor living.  Leaf yellowing and some leaf loss is to be expected ...but your plants will stabilize in time

Keep the water low, keep temperatures warm and provide as many bright light hours as possible with your window selection

Lastly, don't panic over yellowing leaves.  Best is to leave them alone (versus pruning away...which is 100% cosmetic and DOES NOT help whatsoever)

Also read here and here and here