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What Can I Use On My Plants Before Bringing Them…

Mrs. Ollie Asked

What can I use on my plants before bringing them in the house for the winter? Something natural, please.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Mrs. Ollie in Michigan: It is that time of year again when we need to start bringing our tropical plants indoors to over-winter. In general most tropicals can be damaged when temperatures fall below 45 degrees F. Of course, there are always exceptions but that’s just to give an idea in terms of temperatures and when to start actually moving them. The light levels are much lower during the winter months and even that much lower indoors. It is always best to gradually acclimate them to lower light levels. This can be done by moving your sun-loving plants into a shadier location outdoors before bringing them inside. As far as spraying, it is not necessary unless you actually see insect activity currently on the plants. Depending on what your plants are and what kind of insects you may be dealing with, there are a couple of different organic options, including insecticidal soap and pyrethrum-based sprays. It certainly will not hurt to wipe down the foliage with a damp cloth before you bring your plants inside or even change out the soil. This could remove random insects but a more severe population will need something stronger. This may not be feasible depending on how many plants you are dealing with, but a good spray down (with water) of the foliage is not a bad idea either. It is always best to have the insect identified before treating for it. If you do see insect activity you can take a sample to your local garden center or to your County Extension office for a positive identification and treatment options. Remember to cut back on your watering and fertilization of your plants during the winter months.

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