Bringing Your Outdoor Plants in for Winter 

By now you know it’s only a matter of days before we get that first hard freeze, and we all know what that means. The days of enjoying your patio/deck, outdoor are numbered. As you contemplate your fall cleanup, don’t forget that you can enjoy some of your favorite deck plants all year long. I’m talking about succulents and tropicals. 

Container Gardens

First consider your container gardens. Even though your annuals may still look great – especially impatiens, marigolds, accent greens and geraniums – they will turn to mush at the first hard freeze. Fight the temptation to wait and go ahead pull them if you haven’t already done so.  Next, inventory any tropical plants that were potted along-side annuals or are on display by themselves. Popular tropical plants for decks and container gardens include philodendron, ivy, iron plant, ficus, fern and goldfish. These will all do well in winter inside. If your plant needs a new container, select a pot that is about the same size the plant. Choose a potting mix or potting soil especially created for potted, indoor plants. 

Outdoor Succulents

Now for your succulents. First review what you have. Hens and chicks are very popular succulents that are actually a perennial. They get their name because of the rosette shape and habit of the plant to produce numerous babies. This little beauty will die back in the winter and should emerge again next spring and summer exactly where you have it planted. You don’t need to bring them inside for the winter. 

Succulent Bowls

What about those beautiful succulent bowls that you bought this spring at your favorite market or Tootie and Tallulah’s? They probably grew like crazy all summer but now what?! Yes, you can bring them in to winterize. Some succulent plants will do better than others so you may want to take an inventory of what you have. Select the ones you like the best and take out the ones that are already beginning to fade. If you choose to repot them, use a potting soil specifically made for Palms and Cactus. You can make your own by mixing sand, perlite and regular garden soil. Do not plant succulents in garden soil unless you modify it to create a porous, well-draining mix.    


Finally, whatever you do, don’t forget to DEBUG and clean your new indoor plants before they come inside! They have  been collecting dust, spiders, debris, leaves, etc. all summer and they need a good bath. You can accomplish this by giving them a good, long spray with the hose; give them a bath under the sink; or go all in and give them a shower. Yes, a shower. Then you’re ready for debugging. I like to use an organic DIY insecticidal soap which is 1 tsp of mild liquid soap per 1 liter of water in my spray bottle. If you don’t want to mix your own, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap or Neem oil all of which can be purchased at your local big box store. After a good spray, bring your new indoor plants are ready to come in. 

Don’t feel like winter means you have to stop enjoying all your favorite plants!