1. Treat for pests
Outdoor plants often become home to ants, pill bugs, or other unwanted creepy crawlies. Spray both the soil and the entire plant (leaves, stems, etc.) with insecticidal soap a week or so before you invite them into your home.
2. Re-pot if needed
Much easier outside than in, right? Repot in a container that’s at least one (two is better) size up from the current one, use fresh potting soil, and make sure your container has a drainage hole. It’s recommended to leave houseplants in their grower pot or plant them in lightweight plastic containers called liners.
3. Wash and wipe
Leave the dirt outside. Start by wiping larger leaves with a damp cloth and if leaves are smaller, hose them down. For some, it’s nice to apply a product known as leaf shine. Makes the leaves, well, shine. Do read the label as some plants including dracaena and ferns don’t fare well with this product on their leaves. For cactus and succulents, use air duster or a small paintbrush to clean the leaves. Finally, clean off dust and grime from the exterior of the pot.
4. Style your plants
Choose fabulous containers like baskets, buckets and ceramics to drop your liners into – preserving the drainage while showcasing your specimen. Make sure to reinforce the inside of your container with a plastic saucer so they don’t leak. Hang, group, combine, mix and match and/or display at different heights. Plant collections are the new cool. Check out Instagram for all kinds of ideas – @thejungalow, @urbanjungleblog and of course @tonkadale
5. Fertilize at half strength
Just read the package directions and cut in half. And, feed less often. A water-soluble fertilizer is fine or use a compost tea brew. Hint: add a few drops of peppermint oil to your brew to make it smell fresh, not funky. This also helps keep pets away.
6. Foliage plants are easy
Easy-care plants that do best indoors are generally varieties prized for their foliage and that can handle lower light conditions indoors. General light classifications are low, medium, and bright. If you’ve used fiddle-leafed figs, crotons, pothos, philodendron, sansevieria, ivy, spider plant, or just about any other variety of plant prized for its leafy greens or golds, or reds or purples, re-pot and invite them to stay indoors for awhile.
7. Succulents are also welcome indoors
For cold-climate dwellers, it may come as a surprise that succulents and cactus can actually handle a little cold. Deserts are cold at night! These can stay outside a little longer to take full advantage of the sunlight. Be sure to bring them in before they become popsicles.