House smells after bringing in outdoor potted plants.

I have various potted plants that have been outside all summer. Brought them in for winter and now my house stinks! Smells like trash needs to be taken out!

  10 answers
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Oct 31, 2017
    Check your pots for mold and standing water. Check the bottom of the pots as well. Is there any dead foliage on the plants?

  • Cheryl Markus Reynolds Cheryl Markus Reynolds on Oct 31, 2017
    Is there any mold on the plants or the dirt? Have animals used them as a litter box? You may have to change out the dirt they are planted in.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Oct 31, 2017
    I would suggest taking the plant out of the pot and, as others have said, look for mold. Clean the pot, add fresh dirt, let most of the old dirt fall off of the roots, then replant. I would water until you know it's taken root in the clean pot. If they are indoor plants, fertilize, but outdoor plants of then need to go into hibernation mode. That means water them every once in a while but let them die back so they can hibernate. It really depends on the plant.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 31, 2017
    Did you repot the plants in fresh soil and spray them down with horticutral oil

  • FL FL on Oct 31, 2017
    Did you use a smelly fertilizer like manure or fish emulsion? Can you sniff it by any particular plant or is it just a bad odor in the air? Did you close up all your windows? Could something have died in your chimney or in the wall? Smelling like a toilet usually means standing water or something decaying or dead.

  • Darrel Rose Darrel Rose on Oct 31, 2017
    Let your plants dry out for a few days this usually helps the problem, you really don't need to bring in plants as you will just cause problems, plants should be over wintered, bringing them in will just make them flower earlier and end earlier and have fungus gnats and problems with fungus or mold, just a host of different things can happen when bringing them in, and also what food you are giving them can attribute to the smell of your potting soil, cats also like to use potted plants as their kitty litter box or marking their territory which can make plants smell and another thing to remember is don't over water your plants, also don't let your plants stand in water that will really make them smell

  • Kellie Davis Kellie Davis on Oct 25, 2020

    I have extra large yucca tree plants and several other types of large plants ..a couple of them are 20+ years old. This year is the first year they have smelt awful after bringing them inside. They smell like sweaty feet ...does anyone know any remedies of taking care of this smell? Their too large to re-pot.

  • Pat Pat on Oct 26, 2020

    Kelly, where do you live? I live in Nebraska where it gets really cold. My yucca plants stay out all winter, planted in the ground and are covered in snow. Never even thought to bring them inside. They are a nice plant though invasive outside. Do your plants look good? Could parts of them be rotting to give off that smell? Good luck.

    • Kellie Davis Kellie Davis on Oct 27, 2020

      Hello Pat! Thanks for replying. I live in KY. The plants are very healthy. They are different from the ones that grow outside though. Those will usually grow a white bloom on them and all. These are 9'+ tall. My mother in law gave them to me. She had them for 20+ years. One of them is actually 30 years old. Its the biggest I have. About 4.5' wide and 9' tall lol! She has always brung them in for the winter and took them back out for spring. They originate in the hot and dry parts of the Caribbean, so they don't like to be cold. Its not only those plants tho. I have a boat lilly that is in a 4' wide pot full to the max that also stinks. This is the first time they've ever smelled like this. Idk its puzzling me!!

  • Amazing Grace ! Amazing Grace ! on Dec 13, 2021

    I am wondering if it is the actual plant that is causing the odor, or the soil. One way to find out - I would put saran wrap over the pot containing the soil. I use vermiculite, osmicate.

    I also use Milorganite ( which is said to be treated sewerage water - they say it is NOT human waste, but what is the function of a sewerage treatment facility) It stinks to high heaven, so does the vermiculite, and osmicated fertilizer.

    Try covering the dirt with saran wrap, if that eliminates the smell there's your answer. If that solves your problem, cover the dirt with newspaper and put a layer of peat moss in the container. Worth a shot. Oh, BTW.... I use these fertilizers OUTSIDE, but I do fertilize the potted plants with it as well.

    Good Luck.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 20, 2021

    Usually most plants do not emit a stinking odor, More than likely it is something in the soil as a source of decay.

    If you cover the soil, do not do this for too long, it can cause mold from the soil to grow.