Tips to Bring your Plants Inside for Winter

Did you know the average first frost in southeastern Wisconsin is October 15th?  It’s time to winterize some of your beautiful houseplants that have been enjoying the outdoor weather, and try bringing in some annuals to save for next year (or just enjoy while they last).  Here are some tips to help the plants acclimate now, before the weather turns too cool.

  1. Indoors means less humidity and less light for most plants.  Help them to acclimate by bringing the plant indoors at night for a week or two.
  2. Now is the time to repot your plant, and, if needed, trim the roots.  Repotting adds beneficial nutrients to the soil, and may eliminate some underground hitchhikers (bugs) from coming in with the plant.  When trimming back roots, it’s important to prune equally as much plant from above the soil as below.  Less roots = less water to support the plant.
  3. Speaking of bugs, aphids, mealybug, and spidermites are common pests that may come into your home on plants.  Always check the leaves for signs of these small insects before bringing them in.  Any infected areas should be pruned out, sprayed vigorously with a hose, or treated overnight with an insecticide,  Any insecticide that is Pyrethrum based should help to battle pests.
  4. Trim back growth and clean the plant leaves of any dirt or dust before bringing them inside.  Our Chrysal Leaf Shine removes water spots and calcium deposits with no wiping necessary.  A 25 oz. can is just $12.99 at Waukesha Floral.  Unless you really have a lot of plants, the spray will last for quite some time.
  5. Find the brightest windows you have and place the plants in the sunshine.  The only exception may be roots and bulbs from geraniums, dahlias, calla lilies, gladiola and cannas.  These you will want to keep in a dark, cool place, such as a paper bag or sawdust-like material in your basement.
  6. Replace humidity, especially when you first bring in the plants, by misting often.  Water the plants well when brought in and keep the soil slightly moist.
  7. Continually check leaves for any pests, and cut back on fertilizer until the days begin to grow longer – usually March.
  8. Enjoy your plants!  If it doesn’t work out, don’t worry… Waukesha Floral will be starting new plants by March 1st!

Do you have a beautiful succulent bowl to bring in for the winter? Spray off any pests and bring into the brightest place you can find in your home or office. Cut back the fertilizer until spring and reduce watering to keep these on the dry side.

Rex Begonia

Faster growing plants such as begonias may need to be repotted before bringing in for the winter, to provide more root space and nutrition for the plant.


As long as they received plenty of water outdoors, geraniums still look fantastic well into the fall. Many people will save the geranium roots and store them in a cool, dry place for the winter. You may also repot them and bring them inside – cut them back – and place in a very sunny spot.

Waukesha Floral April 2016 Cactus Lorell Fry

Cactus plants are so beautiful, especially this barrel cactus picture taken in our greenhouse by Lorell Fry (Art’s Cameras Focus Group). There is a native Opuntia cactus that grows in Wisconsin and can stay outdoors in a protected area. The branches are round and flat like rabbit ears. Most other cacti need to come back inside. Be sure to check closely for any mealybug or white pests that may be hiding at the base of the spines. Some rubbing alcohol is a remedy to try and take care of these pests before they come in with the plant.

mandevilla noid pink multiple (own)

Tropical plants such as mandevilla and hibiscus need lots of light. Its unfortunate to lose the flowers, but it is we recommend you cut them back before bringing these plants inside, to force them to store more energy in their root systems. Do not expect that the flowers will last all winter, but hope for spring, when you can begin to fertilize once more in anticipation of summer blooms!

About the Author: jane