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Houes plants

James Asked

Good day. I’ve taken my house plants outside for the summer, now it’s time to bring them back in the house. My question is … to avoid bringing bugs into my house, what can I use (natural please) to spray or apply to my house plants before I bring them in the house for the winter, without bring the bugs with them?

Thank you,
James Drake

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, James: Fall will be here soon and the nighttime temperatures will begin to drop. Our tropicals/house plants will need to come indoors to over-winter. Anytime we move our plants from one environment to another it causes stress. To help minimize the stress from transitioning, it is best to bring them inside at least 2 weeks before the earliest frost date. Before they come inside there are some steps we can take to eliminate bringing unwanted insects in with them. Smaller containers can be submerged in a bucket of water mixed with insecticidal soap for 15-20 minutes. This will eliminate any insects living in the soil as well as on the foliage. Larger plants can be given a good rise with the hose and sprayed with the same soap mixture. Following the product recommendations for mixing ratios. After they have been sprayed and/or soaked, allow them to drain completely and then give them a good wipe-down. Bring them in and place them in a south-facing window or the brightest location in your home. Neem oil is also a good organic product to have on hand for insect control. Yellow sticky traps work for fungus gnats. As with all products, be sure to read the labels and restrictions in terms of use on specific plants. Each product is effective against certain insects so if you do have any issues, it is best to have the insect identified before treating it. I hope this is helpful.

Angie Oakley

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