Bring Your Houseplants Inside but Leave the Bugs Outside

Rhonda B
by Rhonda B
It is that time of year again-time to bring in all the houseplants If you are like me you have had your houseplants outside adorning your deck and front door area giving them a little vacation from being cooped up inside. Unfortunately it is starting to get cooler and that means I have to start bringing them in before the nighttime temperatures get below 45-50 degrees. Before I bring them in there are some steps I take to ensure I don't also bring in hitchhikers. Not only can I bring in spider mites and aphids there is also the fear of other creepy crawlies like millipedes and spiders that I really don't want in the house. These steps I take help to keep the bugs to a minimum and I don't need to use pesticides to do it.
Step 1: Give the plant a "bath"! I take a large tote and fill it with water and add a few squirts of Dawn dishsoap and a handful of Epsom salts. I then sink the potted plant into the "bath" for 15-30 minutes to force out any bugs that might be making the plant home.
Step 2: After 15-30 minutes remove the plant.
Step 3: Spray the plant off with a good stream of water to remove the soap.
Step 4: Take a sponge or rag and wipe down the pot and then rinse off.
Step 5: Remove any dead /dying foliage or flowers. Inspect for bugs under leaves and along the stem. Repeat the bath if the bugs are not all gone or use a sponge and wipe them off gently then spray again with the hose.

Step 6: Let drain completely. Now they are ready to be taken back inside.
Step 7: Reintroduce them slowly to the indoors especially if they were in full sun. I do this by moving them indoors at night and putting them out in the morning-reducing the amount of time outside daily by an hour or two. It usually takes about a week. This helps to reduce shock.

Step 8: Enjoy you plants! For the first month your plants may drop some leaves-this is common and caused by the shock of moving back inside but it should recover given time. Just make sure to cut back on fertilizer, give it enough light and water when needed (don't over water) and your plants should make it through the colder months to enjoy another summer outside.

This works great for most houseplants except large ones. My next post I will show you how I prepare my large houseplants for moving inside.
Rhonda B
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 20 questions
  • Mary M Braunlich Mary M Braunlich on Jul 25, 2022

    What about with cactus plants? Can this be done to them as well?

  • Dbd29229024 Dbd29229024 on Jul 26, 2022

    Some of my out door plants will have worms in the soil. I don not want to kill them. Will this harm them?

  • Bev70026129 Bev70026129 on Sep 09, 2022

    Will this work for poinsettias too? They tend to be fussy.

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  • Cathi Consolino Cathi Consolino on Jul 25, 2022

    Can you do this to succulents? I have one that gets a white sticky/cottony substance on it every fall/winter/spring after I bring it in.


    • Rhonda B Rhonda B on Jul 25, 2022

      You can if you allow the soil to drain completely and dry out so they don't get rot.

  • Cathi Consolino Cathi Consolino on Jul 26, 2022

    Thank you for the reply!