Step By Step: Moving Your Plants Indoors For Winter

This guest post comes from our contributor FP Naomi.

It’s that time of year again. We all wonder how it got here so fast, but nonetheless, the time has arrived to close up the garden and move what we can indoors. A first timer myself, I stopped by our urban farm, Greensgrow, to get some tips. If, like me, you’re trying to keep some green friends alive this winter, here’s what I learned!

bringing plants indoors for winter

What plants should I move inside?

Stick with plants that come from warmer climates and don’t necessarily need a dormant period. Herbs are a great example, most of them coming from the Mediterranean. If we’re talking herbs, strains like sage and rosemary can most likely tough out the winter (I brought mine inside because I heard Philadelphia is going to have a really cold one this year). On the other hand, something delicate like basil might not survive in the stale household air. Your safest bets are chives, mint, parsley, thyme, oregano, and lemon verbena. Then again, you can always try to bring something inside. The worst that will happen is that a plant will die and you have to get a new one.

bringing plants indoors for winter

When should you move your plants indoors?

You want to bring everything inside at least a week before you turn the heat on. Heat makes the air very stale, and this helps to ease the transition.

bringing plants indoors for winter

How do I transfer plants into pots?

Pick a day that is slightly overcast, so that exposed roots won’t be subjected to hot air and bright sun. Before you dig anything up, give your plants a nice watering to ensure the root balls will stay intact. Fill your pots a third of the way with soil while you’re letting the water soak in. Once you’re ready to dig everything up, put a shovel into the dirt a good distance from the plant stem. You want scoop out the plant, going far enough down, so that you don’t break or disturb its roots. When you have it out of the ground, slightly break apart the dirt around the root ball, and place the plant in your pot. Make sure that all of the roots are tucked in, and fill up the container with potting soil. Be sure to tamp it down with your fingers as you go to eliminate air pockets around the roots. Once you have everything in, mix up some fertilizer, and give everyone a good watering.

bringing plants indoors for winter

Where should I put plants inside?

Pick a window that gets a lot of sunlight. If you don’t have a window, you can also set up a system with a light. Either grab a shop light to hang overhead or set up a system with clamp lights. Whatever you do, you want to make sure you have the right bulbs. Use either plant bulbs, or one cool white and one warm white bulb. If your plants are in a window that doesn’t get as much light as you’d like it to, you can always put a light on it for a few days a week. The thing to know is that things most likely aren’t going to grow. By bringing them inside, you’re mostly just keeping them alive.

bringing plants indoors for winter

From there, just be sure to watch your plants, give them water, fertilizer from time to time, and make sure they’re doing ok. If things look like they’re getting rough, it might be a problem with the inside air. An air purifier or fan should help to clean things up and make your plants happy.

If anyone has any other tips on bringing plants indoors, we’d love to hear in the comments below. Best of luck to you all!

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot.

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10 years ago

Such lovely photos! And wonderful useful tips as well!

xo, Juliette Laura

10 years ago

They are supposed to be really good as well.I like it….

9 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing! i was wondering what to do with my flowers !I hope it’s not too late to try your tips on them!

8 years ago

Before “moving day,” decide where you are going to place each of the plants you will bring inside. It’s always challenging to find the best place for a particular plant, Taylor says. A guide to doing that, he advises, is to place plants that require full sun near south-facing windows and plants that only need partial sun in an east- or west-facing window. One other option he suggests homeowners consider is to use indoor plant lights, which, he adds, are a popular and affordable solution when you’re faced with less-than-ideal locations for houseplants.

7 years ago

Helpful tips! Just like you wrote, my basil died inside very fast… but this year I will be more careful and I will keep my plants alive for the winter. Thanks!