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COVER STORY 
Flowering in Fall

Weíre quickly coming into the time of year when plants in pots will need to be moved from porches, decks and patios to the warm confines indoors. Exactly when that time arrives is up to the whims of the weather. It also depends on the kind of plant because some may abide cold better than others.

The best a person with potted plants can do is keep an eye on the weather forecast. Keep in mind it can frost when the temperature is still above freezing, so waiting until the air drops to 32 degrees is waiting too long. Without frost, the freezing mark is well below the tolerance level of many plants.

A good rule of thumb is to move plants indoors when the temperature is going to be 45 degrees or lower. If you think you will need a jacket or sweater in the morning hours, the plants will be in need of their own protection.

Moving potted plants is not just a simple procedure of moving them out in the spring and back inside when cold weather approaches. They need time to adapt to the change in environment, especially those that have spent their days in direct sunlight.

One method is to shift the plants to the shade for a few days before the first trip indoors. Another way to do it is take them inside at night and set them back out after daylight. After a few days of that back and forth, let them stay indoors for a few hours at mid-day before leaving them inside for the duration of winter. That makes a lot of moving, but itís a chore people take on when putting plants in pots.

Something too many people donít think about until itís too late is making sure only the plants are moved inside while any hitchhikers are left out in the elements. In other words, get rid of any bugs before changing locations. If a plant has spent the summer outside, itís almost sure to have bugs on it.

The recommended method for bug removal is to first wash the plant with plain water, then spray it with bug spray. Some people wash the leaves with soap, which may get rid of the bugs, but it can also harm the plants.

Donít forget the soil in the pot when it comes to searching for bugs. If the plant is small, you should be able too lift the soil and roots out of the container and spray it all. If you do that, itís a good idea to wash the pot thoroughly to remove any soil dwelling bugs that may be clinging to the insides. Pinch off any dead leaves while you are tending to cleaning off the bugs.

The final step is to decide where in the house to put the plant for its winter rest. For most plants, a place where they will get sunlight is best. Depending of the size, they can go on the floor, a shelf or a counter. Avoid placing them too close to heat vents. When the cold winds blow, the draft from a vent can dry out a plant even when the heat level feels comfortable for humans.

There are many kinds of plants that can survive for years in pots if properly cared for and protected from cold.

Just remember, to keep them in the best of health there is more too it than picking up potted plants and moving them once.

       

DeBord, McFarland Medical thrive in Morristown
8/1/2014 8:38:50 AMBy John Gullion, Over50 Managing Editor




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