How to Debug and Clean plants to bring indoors for winter

It's getting cold here this week and I needed to bring my houseplants back in for winter. Plus, I have a few tender perennials that I take outside every summer. Those need to come inside, but I absolutely do not want to bring bugs in again! A few years back I ended up with Aphids on my miniature pepper plants inside my house! I am not dealing with that again.

Debug and Clean plants to bring indoors for winter

Ideally, you want to start bringing plants inside before the weather gets too cold. I'm so bad about this! I try to push it as long as possible so they can enjoy the outdoors and forget to check the forecast every week for temperatures that are going to be too low. Then suddenly I realize we're due for a frost tonight. Don't be like me! Start bringing your plants in before any chance of frost!

The perfect time to bring plants in is when outside temperatures are very similar to your house temperatures. This way there will be less shock when they move indoors. Considering that most people keep their homes in the 65-70 range, late September is probably when you'll want to do this. 

Before you bring them in though, you need to clean the plants and debug them. Here's how I do it.

Crispy Wave, the oxygen bomb your house needs!

I've been a little infatuated with tiny plants lately. It started in spring when I was buying some bedding plants and the nursery had an assortment of 'miniature' plants. I had to buy a crispy wave plant and a mini cyclamen. Of course I know that many of these 'mini' plants are going to grow up to be full size. Since the Crispy Wave fern is excellent at purifying the air and adding oxygen to it, I was willing to take that chance! 

Indoor plants to filter the air

One of the things that attracted me to this plant was that it only needs filtered light not direct light, so setting it a few feet back from the window would be perfect! Since I was looking for a small plant for on the coffee table this seemed like a good fit. I bought the little plant and took it home. It was to replace a succulent that had been left outside one cold night.

You see, the husband tries to take care of my plants and he had taken that one outside on a sunny spring day only to forget it out there overnight. By replacing it with a plant that does not need direct light, he wouldn't be tempted to take it outside and (hopefully) this one would live a good deal longer!

That might mistake proof this plant, but one of the main reasons I chose this plant was because it said right on the tag 'The Natural Air Purifier'. While all plants help improve air quality, this sounded like it was going to do a better job than usual, plus it is known to live quite long for a potted plant. Sounds perfect!

Find your first predicted frost date

Garden season is almost over and as we're still trying to squeeze the last few bits of produce out of the garden, now we have to worry about frost! Seriously, these nights are getting cold! While many plants like peas and kale do perfectly well in cooler temps, others will die off at the first frost. Knowing your first expected frost date is important when harvesting your garden produce.

First frost date in fall

Frost tolerant vegetable plants like: broccoli, peppers, pumpkin, squash, beans and many others will be perfectly fine through a few frosts. Unfortunately the tomatoes are going to need harvested because they probably won't make it. So that's why it's important to know your first expected frost date. To find out that date you'll need to know what growing zone you're in.

Luckily the are really easy to find out. I'll show you how.

Fall air freshener DIY and other homestead gifts

The first cool day has come which means the unofficial start of pumpkin everything season! Lol No really, fall is on it's way and the stores are filled with the cutest Autumn decor. Incidentally just last week I was whipping up a new batch of my MYO air fresheners using essential oils and I got the idea to make some fall themed scents and use some of those cute jars and such to hold them! 

MYO fall air fresheners

Making your own air fresheners is super easy and it's so much better for your health to have these in your home than one of those scented cone air fresheners that are packed with tons of chemicals! Or even the gel ones. I mean, do you really know what all those things on the ingredient list are? It's kinda scary when you think about it. 

I have 2 different ways I like to make my own air fresheners. The first is to make a gel with gelatin, water, vodka and food coloring then add essential oils and allow to cool. This makes an awesome scented gel that is no spill and can be customized completely. These are great for filling cute seasonal votives and glass pumpkins. (exact recipe below)

How to save money buying the right clearance priced perennials

Fall is the time of year when garden departments at the local home store are scaling back their inventory. Both perennials and annuals are on sale and you can find some amazing bargains if you know what to look for. I literally haunt the sale section of Lowes this time of year. At least half of my perennials were bought there at clearance prices over the years! Though it can be frustrating to wait till next year to see your plants at their finest, your finances will thank you!

Saving money on perennials.

There is a trick to buying clearance plants though. You don't want to buy something that you cant use or that is sickly or too root bound to recover. After all, many of these plants have spent way too long in tiny pots without fertilizer or proper care. On the flip side, as long as you can provide good care and get them in the ground soon enough to establish some roots before winter, they should wake up in spring like they never were neglected!  

That's how I got the black eyed Susans that take over my patio planter every year. They were a pitiful blob of greens with 4 half dead flowers for $3 one September. Now I have them absolutely everywhere in my yard. I'm also a huge fan of buying tulips and daffodils right after Easter. They are often marked down to $1 a pot and are great to fill in areas with bulbs cheaply.

end of season plants

Of course this won't work for most annuals. Perennials though follow a pattern of growth and dormancy and as long as you get them in the ground and established before winters freeze, they'll do just fine....even if they seem a little unhealthy the day you buy them.

You'll want to check out the plants thoroughly before purchase though. Here is how I evaluate a plant to determine if it's a lost cause, or well worth the  price!