Mission Organization: Week 38 - Tips for Bringing Houseplants Inside for the Winter

Those unbearably hot days of summer are finally giving way to mild daytime temperatures and cool nights here in Northeastern Arkansas. It's time to change from shorts to jeans, to slip on a jacket, and to bring the houseplants inside before the first frost.

If your houseplants have been vacationing outside like mine, it's time to think about rounding them up and getting them in the house. Here are some tips I like for getting my houseplants back indoors:

  • Most houseplants need to come inside before night time temperatures reach 50 degrees F. 
  • Check the plants for insects before you bring them inside. Wash the leaves and/or treat the plant leaves on the top and underside with insecticide to be sure you don't bring unwanted guests like spiders or aphids into the house. I found a praying mantis on one of mine. Where was he last week when my grandson needed him for his insect collection?
  • Repot the plants in clean pots with new potting soil to avoid bringing pests inside that have burrowed into the soil.
  • Avoid over watering after bringing the plants inside. Plants that you watered every day while outside will not need as much water inside the house. Wait until the soil surface is dry to the touch before watering.

Many people like to repot plants in the springtime, but I find that fall is also a good time to repot if houseplants have been outside for the summer. A clean pot and new potting soil will keep pests out of the house when you bring them back inside for the winter.

Placing a couple of coffee filters over the drain hole in the clean pot before you fill it with potting soil will help to keep the soil from draining down into the tray when you water.

One houseplant that I have nurtured for a little more than a year now is my Meyer lemon tree. When I first bought this plant in June of 2011, it was not much more than a twig. It has grown new branches and lots of leaves this summer.

Another plant that I brought inside for the winter is my Sago palm. Even though I technically live in the South, I'm too far north for this plant to survive our freezing winter temperatures. This plant got huge this summer!

I also brought my creeping Rosemary inside out of the cold. I'm not sure how this plant will do indoors, but I wanted to try to keep it green and growing inside this winter.

Some gardeners recommend a gradual transition from outdoors to indoors by bringing the plants in just during the night for a couple of weeks and then taking them back outside to enjoy the sunshine during the day. Fortunately, the sunny windows in my kitchen will help my plants transition well to being indoors again, so I repotted and made the move inside all in one day.


  1. Beautiful plants! The coffee filter idea is a good one. I plan on using it. So is the repotting before bringing the plants in. Years ago my mom brought her Christmas cactus in and put it on the window sill. A couple of days later there was a big toad sitting next to the Christmas cactus and you could see the hole in the soil from where the toad had been hibernating before his rude awakening.

    1. Thanks, Susie! That's the perfect illustration of why repotting is a good idea, lol!

  2. Your plants look great! I like the coffee filter idea too!

    1. Thanks, Hannah, they grew a lot in spite of the drought this summer. So good to hear from you, hope all is well with you!

  3. Your plants look so pretty! I use the coffee filter trick too. Honestly, I don't even have any plants inside right now. Sad, huh? I need to correct that!


  4. Wow, great looking plants, Anita! I can't believe your Meyer lemon tree!! Thaat Sago palm is gorgeous, too. My creeping Rosemary seems to do well outside in the Winter.