14 Tips On How To Move Plants Indoors For Winter

Corkscrew rush houseplant in a white ceramic rectangular pot.

Moving houseplants indoors as cold weather begins requires planning. Houseplants need time to acclimate when you consider moving them to a new growing environment.

Bringing tender tropical house plants indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 50°F will save them from chilling injury and death.

And since plants can’t take a hot bath or turn down the thermostat when suffering from extreme cold, it is your responsibility to make the transitioning of the growing environment as smooth as possible.

Part of being a plant parent is to figure out how to keep these lovely plants safe when the cold winter kicks.

Most plants can naturally acclimate to the change of environment. However, doing it gradually and progressively will prevent the possibility of your plants failing to adjust to their new growing conditions.

And here are a few tips you can follow to acclimate your houseplants smoothly.

14 Tips To Successfully Move Your Plants Indoors For Winter

Bringing houseplants indoors for winter will save tender plants from freezing. It will help them remain robust and healthy until spring comes. Besides, it allows you to enjoy the greenery they bring inside your home.

1) Monitor the Temperature

Set of two snake plants in clay container pots.

Most houseplants come from tropical regions in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. And some of these plants demand a specific temperature to thrive. Temperatures ranging from 55°F to 85°F are what most tropical plants prefer.

But when the temperature outside regularly drops below 60°F, plan to transition your plant indoors. Any colder and you’ll want to bring them inside right away before the temperature drops below 45°F.

And keeping them away from both sources of heat and cold drafts will allow plants to enjoy the temperatures they prefer. Fluctuations in temperature may kill houseplants quickly.

2) Eradicate Pests Before Acclimatization Start

An infestation of plant lice in a yellow rose.

Plants exposed to pests and diseases while outdoors can spread disease when brought indoors. And these include aphids, scales, and spider mites.

And to prevent the possibility of rapid pest infestation and spread of disease, check your plants for pest problems. Turn over leaves and check undersides along with the stems before you start the process of acclimatization.

Some bugs are not visible to the bare eye. So even if you don’t see any bugs, wash off your plant with hydrogen peroxide solution or insecticidal soap as a preventive measure to make sure they are pest-free.

3) Prune Damages

A person pruning a tropical green bush
Image by: bloomscape.com

Trim damaged stems and deadhead spent blossoms as well as leaves before transporting houseplants indoors for the winter. Doing so will prevent the plant from channeling energy into dying leaves. Help plants achieve optimal conditions while resting.

4) Gradually Introduce Plants to the Indoor Environment

Hypoestes plants grown in blue and orange plastic containers.

You should acclimate your plant to indoor light and the temperature gradually and progressively to prevent the danger of plant shock. This is a smart way to help your plant adapt to the new environment.

Over five days, bring the plant inside at night and bring back outside during the day. And gradually shorten the time the plant spends outdoors.

Reduce the amount of light they receive every day from 8 hours to 6 hours. Keep reducing their time outdoors until they can withstand the entire day, showing no signs of stress.

5) Move Plants To a Clean and Bright Area

Devil's Ivy in a big ceramic container pot with an iron stand.

Plan where to position the plant in advance. And as much as possible, place the plant indoors with matching outdoor conditions. Also, give your windows a good cleaning to let plenty of sun in and help keep your plants grow healthy.

And if matching conditions are not possible, put them in areas where the plants can receive light. And if the light is too low, you can invest in full-spectrum bulbs depending on your plant’s needs.

6) Water Plants Sparingly

Watering a houseplant with a green plastic watering can.
Image by: thesill.com

Plants usually go into hibernation mode in winter. This also means they don’t need water as much as summer. And reducing the amount of water is sufficient to keep them hydrated.

Also, keep in mind to use room temperature when you water. At this time, plants do not appreciate ice-cold water, and giving them more than necessary can lead to root rot.

Always perform a soil finger test to check if the soil is moist. And when you find it dry, water the plant slightly. However, citrus trees love high moisture soil and love drinking water even in winter.

7) Avoid  Feeding Plants in Winter

Feeding houseplant with granular fertilizer.
Image by: thespruce.com

A lot of plants enter a period of dormancy during the winter, making it a period of a season-long nap. This is a state of temporary metabolic inactivity where plants use their stored-up energy to stay alive.

Similar to water, house plants need not much fertilizer in winter. If you find them healthy, do not fertilize.

However, if you think feeding is necessary, and you want to apply liquid fertilizer, dilute the solution about 50% of the water before the application, preferably in the fall.

8) Use a Humidifier

Devil's Ivy in a black plastic container and a plant humidifier on the table
Image by: instructables.com

Low humidity is the biggest hurdle your plants will deal with during winter.

Since most indoor plants are tropical varieties, the extra moisture in the air will help them thrive and keep more delicate leaves from turning brown.

Using a humidifier in your home will help plants enjoy its benefits. But if you do not have a humidifier, raise the humidity level inside the house by other means.

9) Avoid Too Much Heat

Winter is the time for house plants to rest and get cool indoors. But many homeowners worry about the plants freezing, putting them near the heat. And only a few remember that positioning the plants near heaters or fireplaces is also dangerous to their health and may dry them out to death.

10) Consider a Grow Light

Echeveria succulents in white ceramic pots under a grow light
Image by: mountaincrestgardens.com

Artificial lightings for plants like grow lights are inexpensive and come in various sizes designed to fit your plant’s preference.

If the day is too short and dark in your area, considering an artificial light will help provide extra energy for your houseplants. The plants may lose leaves in response to the reduced light, but at least this minimizes the loss.

11) Rotate Plants When Necessary

Rotating your houseplants while indoors during winter is essential if the source of light is coming from only one side of the house. Doing so will compensate all the plant sides as the days grow shorter in winter.

But for Christmas cactus and flowering plants, do not rotate blooming plants as flower buds may turn toward the light, causing the blooms to drop.

12) Move Away Plants from Freezing Windows

In winter, the air near windows can grow perilously cold when the temperature drops below 45°F at night, making it hard for plants to adjust.

Moving houseplants away from the windowsill at night will save them from freezing. Some people cover plants with newspapers, but moving them temporarily at night and bringing them back in the morning is often easier.

13) Remove Dust From Leaves

Dusting houseplant leaves with a yellow rag
Image by: bioadvanced.com

In the winter, plants indoors collect dust through the air because of enclosed surroundings. And cleaning leaves and removing accumulated dust will help counteract indoor low humidity.

Removal of dirt on the leaves will help the plant breathe and photosynthesize efficiently.

14) Avoid Repotting Plants In Winter

Houseplants usually suffer in the winter because of the extreme cold. And repotting in winter can do more harm than good. It can trigger new growth, adding more stress to their weak and leggy conditions. Hold off repotting plants in winter unless doing so is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Houseplants can add style and elegance to your home. They are a great addition you can use to detoxify the air inside your home all year round.

However, keep in mind that some houseplants are pet-friendly, while others are toxic to your fur babies.

Position your houseplants in a place safe from your lovely pets, especially if you are unsure if your plants are pet-friendly or toxic.

However, houseplants need care in the winter for them to thrive and be effective. As the weather gets colder in the fall and changes in winter, bringing them inside will save them from stressful conditions and chilly temperatures.

And allowing your plants to rest over winter is essential. Although there are a few threats to the life of your plants in winter, your love and care will help them stay healthy until spring comes. 

Once the winter is over, your plants will thank you for your hard work when they come into full bloom.



About Benita Abucejo

Hi there! My name is Benita Abucejo. What can I say? I truly love spending my days in the outdoors, specifically in the garden. Gardening has always been a strong passion of mine since I was a little girl. It has brought me so much joy and happiness that it is definitely safe to say that I will be a gardener for life. For a period of time, I was able to work with people who are into home gardening and I found it to be quite beneficial to my physical health, as well as my mental well-being. Here at Seasonal Preferences, I am going to share with you my experience and ideas so that you can fulfill yourself with the same satisfaction and happiness. Of course, if you have ideas, I would love to hear those as well! Being creative in the garden can really be quite fascinating so let's share our experiences and be the best gardeners we can be. With that being said, thank you for dropping by and please leave me a comment on one of my posts if you would like to get in touch!

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