How to Prepare Plants to Come Into the House After Being Outside for the Summer


Whether you had houseplants outdoors during the summer or you want to overwinter some outdoor plants in an indoor environment, take care to prepare your outdoor plants prior to a move indoors. Since light and temperature changes can cause stress on plants, a wise gardener will acclimate outdoor plants slowly to a move indoors to lessen the shock. Prepare plants to come into the house after being outside for the summer gradually and they will continue to thrive throughout the winter months.

Step 1

Move the plant to an area outside where it will receive less light before you move it indoors. Make this move when the outdoor temperatures begin to fall regularly to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the plant in this less sunny location for approximately one week before moving it indoors.

Step 2

Rid the plant of pests before bringing it inside. Fill the bucket approximately half-way with warm water and place the entire plant (with container) into the bucket so the water comes to just beneath the rim of the container. Leave the container soaking in the bucket for at least 15 minutes and then remove the container. The warm water will encourage any pests burrowed into the soil to crawl out and escape.

Step 3

Re-pot the plant if the plant had pests or if the plant seems crowded in the pot. If the roots are extending to the edges of the pot or escaping out the drainage hole, re-pot the plant. Choose a new planting container that is 2 to 4 inches larger than the current container. Fill the container approximately halfway with new potting soil, remove the plant from its current container and place it into the new planting container. Fill in additional potting soil to finish replanting the plant and water it to saturate the soil.

Step 4

Take the plant indoors after one week elapses. Place the plant in a location indoors where it will receive a similar amount of light as it did outdoors. If the plant was in full sun, place the plant in a southern window. If you do not have a southern window, use a grow light for at least 16 hours out of every 24 hours. If the plant was in partial sun, place the plant in an eastern or western window or use a grow light for six to eight hours out of every 24 hours.

Step 5

Fertilize the plants when you bring them indoors (unless you re-potted the plant). Mix the fertilizer with water according to package recommendations for the size of the container. Pour the fertilizer carefully over the soil without splashing fertilizer onto the plant foliage.

Step 6

Reduce watering amounts and frequency after you move the plant indoors. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out and then water enough to moisten the soil evenly again.

Things You'll Need

  • Large bucket (larger than current planting containers)
  • Potting soil
  • Planting containers
  • All-purpose fertilizer (water-soluble)


  • University of Vermont Extension: Bringing Houseplants Indoors
Keywords: moving houseplants outdoors, move plants indoors, prepare plants move, moving plants inside

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.