Gardeners grow their houseplants all summer to get them healthy only to see them slowly decline all winter with the hope they are alive come spring. Late fall through December bring some of the lowest light levels into our homes, really limiting the growth of all of our houseplants.

Note: This is the second part of a series on indoor pests. Read part 1 on pantry pests.

Drain flies and fungus gnats are another couple of household nuisance pests. They can be found any time of the year but may be more noticeable in winter when we are inside a lot more.

Many of us gave our houseplants a vacation all summer long to recharge and recover from being indoors, yet here we are again dealing with them for the dark days of winter.

One activity that seems to get “put off” until the last minute is bringing in the houseplants that have vacationed outside for the summer. It is not uncommon to find ourselves out there with a chance of frost and flashlight in hand covering up the houseplants or rushing them inside the garage for the night. 

Some of our late summer and early fall garden tasks can take more time than others. Making a “to do” list can help us get them done in a timely manner and not forget anything. (For example, hurrying to get the houseplants in just after dark and before that predicted frost is never fun.)

Here’s a short list to get you started, including tasks when it’s too wet or hot out. However, every yard is different, so be sure to add your own tasks and prioritize for what works best for you.

As we approach mid-January, there may be more going on inside than outside for gardeners. Perennial beds covered in snow enjoy the protection from drying winter winds and the winter sun (if we ever see sunny days anytime soon). For some of us, traditional bird feeding started weeks back.

red poinsettia

What’s your favorite holiday plant? If you said the Poinsettia, you would be in good company. Since 1825 when the Poinsettia was introduced from Mexico, it has been the traditional holiday gift plant. With good reason, too. Poinsettias are not only striking in color and shape, but they can last for several weeks to several months with proper care.

Temperature and placement

Late summer and early fall provide us opportunities to learn more about the insect world. With our outdoor bloom show coming to a close, there are a great many insects that had been feeding on flower parts that are now looking around for something else to eat or thinking about vacationing where it is warm – inside our homes.

Late summer triggers a column on our houseplants that are going to be brought back into our homes for the winter. For many, we take them outside to let Mother Nature nurture them back to a better state of health, or to kind of take a vacation from having to care for them as carefully as we had been during the winter. You may have set them out on the ground under shrubs or evergreens, put them on the edge of the patio, or maybe you have plant stands you use under your trees in the yard.

plant on window ledge, snow outside window

In the middle of January, not a lot is going on outside in the home landscape except the feeding stations, kept full of seed and suet for birds, cobs of corn for the squirrels and maybe a salt lick for other kinds of wildlife. Perennial beds covered in leaves or snow enjoy the protection from drying winter winds and the sun (if we see sunny days).

poinsettia petals

With this Thanksgiving being one of latest on record, it’s no surprise that holiday gift plants are already making the rounds. Poinsettias are among the most popular of these flowering visual treats. Since 1825 when the poinsettia was introduced from Mexico, it has been the traditional Christmas season gift plant.

The summer of 2019 has been unique for sure. Yet, one thing we can count on is the need to prepare our vacationing houseplants to return inside for the winter season.