Monday, October 6, 2014

Bring Your Houseplants Inside but Leave the Bugs Outside Part 2

I have to admit-this is a tedious job.  Sometimes I consider just hauling the darn things in and not worrying about any bugs that might come with it.  But then I remember a few years ago I had 3 Banana plants (along with some other plants) that I had brought inside without cleaning them up.  Guess what-they died that winter from a spider mite and scale infestation and the rest of my plants barely made it through the winter.  I battled the bugs the entire time.  So now I make it a Fall ritual no matter how much I hate it.  This system does not guarantee my plants stay healthy, but I have not had a problem since I started doing this.  Here is a picture of one of my long gone Bananas:

This post is the second part of a post I wrote Titled "Bring Your Houseplants Inside but Leave the Bugs Outside".  Here is a link to that post if you would like to visit it and check it out before you start:

For this you will need the following:
1.  Large plastic tub-large enough to fit you plants pot. 
2.  Dawn dishwashing detergent.
3.  Epsom salt
4.  A sponge
5.  Hose with sprayer.
6.  A spray bottle

First thing you need to do is fill the large tub up with water.  Add a couple of squirts of Dawn and a handful of Epsom salts as it is filling.  When it is about halfway full place your plant in the plastic tub.  Get some help with this-you don't want to throw your back out.  I had my 16 year old son help me.  When the plant is in the water fill the tub up until it is over the top of the pot.  Some of your dirt will start to float out of the pot-this is normal if your plant hasn't been in the pot very long.  You will leave the plant in the water anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.  Here is my plant sitting in the tub:

During that time fill the spray bottle with water.  Add a dash of Dawn and a pinch of Epsom salts. 
Now, spray the plant down with the spray bottle-make sure to spray the upper and lower leaves and also the stems.
After you have sprayed the entire plant down grab the sponge and start wiping the plant down.  I usually wipe the upper then the lower leaves then the stems (as much as I can).
When the plant is all wiped down spray it off with the hose.  Make sure to get it completely rinsed off.
If it has been at least 15 minutes or longer you can remove the pot from the "bath".  Make sure to get help with this-the plant will be much heavier now that it has absorbed a bunch of water.

Wipe down the pot and then rinse off.
Let the plant drain completely before bringing in to the house.  I always try to acclimate the plant so it doesn't go into shock.  That usually means bringing it in at  night and reducing the amount of daylight hours it has outside for about a week before I leave it inside for the winter.  Here is my plant in his winter home:
For some reason my Schefflera is getting wide instead of tall.  It is starting to take up too much room.  Anyways, here is a pic of another plant I gave a "bath".  His pot barely fit in the plastic tub.
Another bonus about soaking your plants in the water is they get a thorough watering before bringing them in.  Remember to cut back on watering when you bring them in.  Less sun, wind and growing means less need for water.  Here's hoping they make it through another winter indoors:-))

I hope you find this post useful.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave it in the comments section.

As always-Happy Planting!

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