Bringing Your Garden Indoors

Bringing Your Garden Indoors

Summer is has come to an end and so has the gardening season. How sad to say good-bye to all of the impatiens that finally grew the way we wanted them to, or the bougainvillea basket that was an eye catcher and the fuchsia that all the neighbors admired. Why say good-bye to these plants? Instead, invite them in for the winter.

These annual plants will over winter quite easily if the proper steps are taken.


There are many ways to over winter fuchsia. Take cuttings in late summer and place in a soilless mix. Once rooted, transplant them to individual pots and place in a bright sunny location. The plant will produce only foliage during the winter. Label each pot if the cuttings were from different plants. I forgot to label my cuttings one year and wound up with the most interesting, unappealing hanging basket. Another option is to keep the entire plant dormant for the winter. Before the first hard frost, put the container growing plant in an area that is maintained between 40° and 50°F. Inspect the container for signs of insects both on the leaves and in the soil. Water the plant once a month. In February, hard prune the plant back to the old wood. This will encourage new branching that will in turn produce many more flowers during the summer.


Impatiens, as well as New Guinea Impatiens, can be easily grown indoors during the winter. In late summer take stem cuttings from desired plants, place in perlite or coarse sand. Once rooted, transplant into pots filled with a soilless potting mix. Remember to label each pt. Place the potted plants in a bright, sunny location. If you do not have a sunny are, opt for artificial lighting. You can bring in impatiens that have been growing in containers, just first cut back the plants leaving one-third of their original height.


Water the plant the day before you plan on digging it up. Rosemary needs good drainage and does not like to have its roots sit in water. You can avoid standing water by adding small rocks to the bottom of the pot you are going to be using, then add potting soil that has been mixed with vermiculite. Add the plant to the pot and water well. Make sure the excess water drains out. Place the plant in a sunny area and water once a week.


Bring in the entire hanging basket, but check it first for any signs of insects in the soil and on the leaves. Trim the plant back in the fall and place in a cool location during the winter. The plant will now enter a rest period where it should be kept dry. In March, move the plant to a warm area and begin watering. This plant is hard to get to re-bloom, but boy is it worth the effort.

Other plants that can be easily brought inside to over winter include coleus, geraniums, basil and begonias.

Preventative Measures

  • Check the plant for insects both on top and underneath the leaves. If there are any pests present, spray with Soap-Shield. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect the soil for any signs of slugs. If slugs are present it is best to wash off all the soil and repot the plant using fresh potting mix.
  • Choose healthy plants to bring in or take cuttings from.
  • Prune moderately before bringing the whole plant inside.
  • Water the plant carefully. Over watering is the number one killer of plants grown indoors during the winter. Use the finger test, press your finger into the soil, if the soil feels dry it is time to water.
  • Humidity levels are low in most homes during the winter, which can encourage spider mites. Keep the plants misted or place them on a pebble tray filled with water. This creates humidity around the plant.
  • Water from the bottom of the plant at the root zone. Avoid watering from the top and leaving the stems wet especially overnight. This can encourage fungus diseases.
  • Do not over fertilize. Plants need less food during the winter because their growth rate is slower. Once you see a plants growth rate increase, you can then start to increase the frequency of fertilizing.
  • Keep the plants in an area where they can receive the maximum amount of light. This can be a challenge if you do not have a south-facing window or if you are experiencing overcrowding from too many plants sharing that one windowsill. You may need to add an artificial light source. Fluorescents do a great job.

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