Moving indoors for the winter

My house looks like a jungle. I have moved my outside plants indoors, and they are everywhere. If there is a window, there is a plant nearby.

Before they could jockey for space in front of a window, I took a few steps to help the plants get ready for the move indoors.

I gradually decreased their light exposure. Nothing drastic, but while they were still outside, I moved them from a sunny spot to a shady area for about a week.  This gives them time to adjust to the lower light levels in the house.

Next, I inspected each container for insects, which means looking under the leaves, in the crevices, and around the edges of the pots. My plants all looked good except for my large Schefflera or umbrella tree. Its leaves looked dirty. There was black soot on the leaves. I took a wet rag and wiped each leaf, careful not to skip any branches or leaves.

It is much better now, and most importantly, it will not spread disease or insects to the rest of my inside forest. For safe measure, it is in the dining room and not too close to other plants.

My potted trees, such as palm and orange, spend the winter in the basement. Both trees were gifts from friends who know I have a soft spot for large potted trees that need to be rehomed.

The orange tree has been a pleasant surprise. Last year when blooms filled the tree, my house smelled like a bottle of perfume. It was lovely.

This year I also moved my begonias and ferns into the basement. They are nestled around a window and should be ok until spring.

I have not had good luck keeping Boston ferns indoors, but these are a hardier macho fern, and I think I have a good shot of keeping them alive this winter.

Last year a friend sent her potted ivy down south to spend the winter – actually just to my downtown office window, where it got plenty of light and attention.  I was careful to water it just enough and spritz the leaves with the water bottle every few days. This helped the plant adjust to the change in humidity.

Luckily, I kept it alive, and it went back up north (actually about 2 miles away) to live for the summer. Now that the temperature has dropped, it’s in my office again this year. The ivy thrived being home and living outside over the summer, and is bigger than ever. My challenge is to keep it alive again this winter.

The variegated ivy was so pretty I started my own pot this year, and now it’s in the basement too. With a few other ferns, vines, and various plants, it definitely looks like a jungle surrounding my computer and work area.

What few succulents I have managed to keep alive have moved to a guest bedroom. Of course, they have good light and even a little extra warmth being upstairs.

There is an asparagus fern in my bathroom. This summer, it was in a flower box and was so healthy I stuck in a pot and brought it indoors.

I took a few steps in mid-autumn to prep my plants for indoor living during the winter. And, so far, so good. I spend about an hour each Sunday watering, checking the leaves and soil to guarantee their health. The result is, I live in a jungle, a forest of green, and love every minute of it.