Bring in your houseplants now
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URBANA -- Many people move
their houseplants outdoors for the summer to rejuvenate them after a
long winter. But take care -- it's time to bring them back indoors,
according to Susan Grupp, a University of Illinois Extension
horticulture educator based in DuPage County. "Night temperatures
are dropping, and most houseplants are from tropical areas and will
be injured or killed by cold temperatures and frost," she noted.
"Houseplants need time to adjust to the lower light level in your
home. Since this move will be a shock to them, it is best to
introduce them to this change gradually."
To start, Grupp recommends placing them
on a covered porch or indoors for just a few hours and return them
outside for the remainder of the day. Each day, increase the time in
lower light. After 10-14 days, they should be better equipped to
handle the permanent move indoors.
"While you are acclimating them to new
growing conditions, you should check them carefully," she said.
"Look for insect and disease problems. Stunted or distorted growth
may be a symptom of a problem. If you find sticky leaves, look for
sap-feeding insects such as aphids or scale. These insects excrete
honeydew that forms a sticky deposit on leaves."
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The plant's soil should be checked too
for pill bugs, millipedes and ants, as all may be present. Although
they cause no harm to houseplants, these pests can become a nuisance
in the home.
"Washing leaves with plain water and
repotting plants with fresh potting mix are good steps to take when
returning houseplants to their indoor home for the upcoming cold
season," Grupp said.
[University of Illinois news