Sadly our sultry southern Ontario weather is on its way out and you know what that means! Yes there’s a possibility of frost any day now. I’ve just seen the first frost advisory for central Ontario so it’s time to bring in the houseplants that have been happily enjoying the back deck.

Click here for frost dates for all regions Ontario. Here in London Ontario we are Zone C with an average first frost date of October 8th. For more information check the link to Plant Hardiness zones. There’s also an interactive app available.

Bring in your tender plants

Most important is to not bring in trouble with them…ie no bugs or disease. I use this approach:

  • On a warm day in September I move all plants to the driveway. The largest ones get  a very thorough soaking of the potted soil; paying particular attention to the bottom or other areas where bugs can hide. The smaller pots are immersed in a bucket of water.
  • I then spray all leaves and soil surface with insecticidal soap (not homemade recipe but a reliable product made and sold for this purpose). This product only works with direct contact with bugs!
  • When the leaves stop dripping I move the plants inside to an area of the house with the brightest light possible. I can move them later to where I want them for the winter but for now they need to adjust so I find it best to cram them all into the dining room by the big southeast-facing front window.
  • I then monitor closely, at least once per week for signs of any bugs and reapply insecticidal soap if needed.
  • It’s very important throughout the indoor season to allow the soil surface to dry out between watering to avoid a fungus gnat invasion (annoying little black gnats that look like fruit flies)

Here’s another article with good tips:Purdue University – Bringing houseplants back

Time to bring my jungle inside!