If you have let your houseplants ‘holiday’ outside under a tree or on your deck for the summer, by early fall, it’s time to get them ready to bring inside. If you soak your plants in a tub of lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes it will force many hidden pests like ants, roly poly bugs and snails out of your container before bringing them inside.
Roly Poly Bugs (Armadillidium vulgare) eat dead vegetation and mulch. Now is a good time to think about taking cuttings of annual flowers, like coleus, begonias, and geraniums to save money for next years plantings.
To prevent your plants from going into shock it’s best to gradually decrease the light they receive before moving them indoors. Some years we don’t get that luxury and it frosts before we are ready, just be prepared for leaf loss from shock.
Just remember, sunlight through a window can act as a magnifying glass and could burn tender foliage. If possible, place your plants on a cookie sheet or plastic tray filled with gravel and water. This is an easy and attractive plant stand you can make with plastic trays that hold gravel and water for humidity and an old ladder.
For treating plants infested with spider mites, mix two tablespoons of Kosher, Sea Salt or baking soda into one gallon of warm water, add a drop of dishwashing liquid and spray infected areas. If you don’t feel up to making your own pesticide, Safer Soap is a nice commercial alternative.