Fall Gardening – 5 Steps to Consider When Bringing Your Plants Inside for the Winter

If your temperatures outside are regularly dipping below 60 degrees, it’s time to start thinking about bringing plants inside for the winter. I usually bring in my ferns, begonias, and scented geraniums, and this year, I will be bringing a dwarf Meyer lemon tree that currently has 12 lemons on it. They are all still green, but I’m hoping they will hit maturity soon.

Bringing Plants Inside for the Winter

Many plants can be brought inside for the winter. Here are 5 basic tips to consider when bringing them indoors.

1.  Start by gradually decreasing the amount light the plant receives over a few days to help lessen stress on the plant. You could even bring them inside at night and back outside during the day.

2.  Before bringing them indoors inspect the plant for insects and treat accordingly. This can simply be a good spray with a garden hose or something a little stronger like insecticidal soap. Clean the pots and check to see if anything is living below.


3.  Prune all leggy plants. Cut off all dead plant material. This rose scented geranium is very rangy and needs a good pruning.

4.  Once they are inside for the winter, make sure they get adequate light. A full-spectrum light with a timer set to 16 hours a day is a good way to help plants with less than optimal lighting.

Many plants can be brought inside for the winter. Here are 5 basic tips to consider when bringing them indoors.5.  Resist the temptation to over water. Indoor plants need less water and in many cases should only be watered once a week. An easy way to check is to stick your finger into the pot a good inch or so, checking to see if the soil is dry

Rosemary at the end of the season

In addition to bringing potted plants inside consider digging up tender perennials like this rosemary plant. Unless we have a really warm winter rosemary will not make it in my area so I pot it up and bring it inside. You can also taking cuttings of some of your annuals and bring them inside to root over winter. Plants like impatiens, begonias, coleus and geraniums will thrive with decent lighting and you then won’t have to buy them in the spring.

Many plants can be brought inside for the winter. Here are 5 basic tips to consider when bringing them indoors.

On a closing note, even if you don’t have a lot of light inside your home you may be able to grow some plants very well. Take at look at this Rex begonia. I bought it a couple of years ago to put on my front porch for the summer. At the end of the summer I brought it in and it has never left my dining room but continues to thrive even though there is not a lot of light. Last year I even had a few flowers. So, instead of throwing your tender plants in the compost pile try bringing those beauties in. You’ll be glad that you did.

Many plants can be brought inside for the winter. Here are 5 basic tips to consider when bringing plants inside during the cold winters months.

About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Thanks for the info. What to do if you bring plants in but are gone for the winter?

    • Most plants will be fine if they are watered once a week. Ask a neighbor or friend to help or hire a pet sitting service. They seem to be everywhere and even if you don’t have pets I think they will water your plants for a small fee.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’m really worried about bringing in my cacti and succulents, I’m so worried that my lack of natural light will kill them over the winter. Any tips about these types of plants?

  3. Hi Kristina
    Depending on the variety they should be ok near a sunny window and may even go dormant. Water sparingly.

  4. Great tips! I’ve never given much thought to the process of bringing plants in for the winter. I only freeze a few times a year here and I usually realize it when I hear it on the 10 o’clock news. So we just run outside, gather plants up and bring them in for the night.

    How fun to have meyer lemons! They are my favorite lemons in the whole world.

  5. Thanks for the tips! I’ve pinned them for everyone to enjoy!


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