Keep your houseplants healthy – Winnipeg Free Press

With nighttime temperatures dropping below 10°C several nights already in September, one of the first tasks for many gardeners this month was to move tropical plants and tender succulents indoors for the winter. Tropical plants can be injured when nighttime temperatures drop below 10 degrees. Tender or non-hardy succulents, however, can handle cooler temperatures, but it’s wise to bring them indoors before they’re smothered in frost.

Shea Doherty, director of Our Farm Greenhouses in Portage la Prairie, says there are key factors to keeping houseplants looking their best until it’s time to take them outside next spring.

“If you bring a bird of paradise or cordyline or some other type of exotic plant indoors for the winter,” says Doherty, “you should expect insects or insect eggs. ‘insects hiding somewhere on your plant.’ Doherty recommends spraying plants with a product such as Safer’s End-All to control a range of pests, including aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects, from egg to adult. “Mist your plants a total of three times, six days apart. This will take care of any insects that may be present,” he says. “Get as thorough coverage as possible, making sure the spray gets into the crevices of the leaves and where the leaf blades attach to the stem as well as the undersides of the leaves, where insects often hide or lay eggs. eggs.”

Colleen Zacharias/Winnipeg Free Press

Shea Doherty, manager of Our Farm Greenhouse, at the St. Norbert Farmers Market.

Safer’s End-All contains two active ingredients – pyrethrin, a compound derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and potassium salts of fatty acids – and is approved for use in organic gardening. In the United States, the product also includes neem oil extract; however, neem oil is not approved as a pesticide in Canada. After spray has dispersed or dried, children and pets may re-enter the area.

Cordyline plants, commonly known as Ti plants, are some of the most amazing plants gardeners can keep year after year, Doherty says. A broad-leaved plant with upright cane-like stems and colorful strap-like foliage with bright pink and deep red-violet tones, cordyline plants are wonderful thrillers for annual container designs. “Remove the annuals from your pot, bring your cordyline plant indoors, and grow it as a houseplant during the winter months,” says Doherty. There are many distinct types of Ti plants, but they generally prefer a well-lit room and appreciate the extra humidity.

One way to naturally increase humidity levels during the dry winter months is to group plants close together. Plants release water when they transpire, which is the process of evaporating water into the air through the pores of the plant. Another method to increase humidity is to place a shallow tray of water near your plant.

“The biggest key is not to overwater houseplants,” says Doherty. A well-drained potting mix and a container with good drainage are essential. “Avoid adding rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pots,” says Doherty. Rather than improving drainage, he says, rocks at the bottom of a container prevent water from draining effectively. “The roots of a popular houseplant like the snake plant, for example, will rot if the moisture can’t drain away properly,” says Doherty. Indoors, the snake plant has low water requirements. Let the soil dry out between waterings. In bright indirect light snake plants only need to be watered twice a month, but in low light conditions you may only need to water once every three at four weeks.

The snake plant, easily recognized by its variegated sword-shaped leaves, is identified in NASA’s chart of air-filtering plants that have the ability to remove toxins from the air such as benzene, which commonly found in paint, as well as formaldehyde, a gas emitted from particle board. One of the reasons the snake plant is still in high demand is its tolerance of low light conditions and bright indirect light indoors. By the way, the snake plant has undergone a botanical name change. Formerly known as Sansevieria trifasciata, it is now scientifically classified as Dracaena trifasciata.

Proven winners

Cordyline, a popular foliage thriller in summer container designs, can be lifted in the fall and grown indoors as a houseplant.

Doherty’s favorite recommendation for an indoor container grouping is to pair a tall snake plant with dark green leaves with Philodendron Birkin, which has heart-shaped leaves and green and white stripes, and a cylindrical variety of plant snake that has round rods. Another exotic favorite is the Ficus Red Ruby rubber tree with variegated leaves of red, purple and creamy white. There are many types of ficus, often called figs. Ficus prefers indirect to medium light and does well in a room like the living room, where there are larger windows. Water when the top two inches (5 cm) of soil are completely dry.

If you plan to bring non-hardy succulents indoors for the winter but haven’t succeeded yet, keep a close eye on the weather. Succulents are more acclimated to cooler temperatures than exotic tropical plants, Doherty says, because many succulents are native to desert climates which are harsh environments with low nighttime temperatures. That said, bring your succulents indoors before the first frost.

“During the winter months, I only water the top quarter of the soil for potted succulents once every three to four weeks,” says Doherty. “As long as you don’t saturate the soil and keep it on the dry side, succulents do extremely well indoors. Of course, the brighter the indoor lighting conditions, the better the succulents will do. affair.

Is a windowsill too cold for succulents during the coldest winter months? It depends on the variety, says Doherty. Euphorbia succulents (eg pencil cactus, crown of thorns) are more sensitive to cold. “Also, if a succulent is in very wet soil, the plant will suffer next to a cold window. But if it is in a dry state as it would be in the wild, the plant will go through the winter with vigor.

Stonecrop sedums are the most difficult succulents to grow indoors, says Doherty. Gold Dust sedum, for example, which has bright yellow star-shaped flowers, sometimes dies in mid-January. “Overwater once and it dies on you. Keeping this one on the dry side is key,” he says.

Costa Farms

Haworthia is one of the easiest succulents to grow indoors.

“By far the easiest plant to grow indoors is Haworthia (zebra plant),” says Doherty, who grows 33 different types in a range of shapes and colors. Haworthia has low water requirements and thrives in a bright indoor location.

On Saturday, October 8, Our Farm Greenhouse will offer a wide selection of tropical plants and succulents in plug form, starting at $3.00 each. “We don’t do the repotting or growing time, which is why we can offer cost savings,” says Doherty. Last year’s sale received a great response, he says. “Take the cork home, fill a pot with potting soil, use your finger to make a hole in the center of the soil the same size as the cork, and tuck it in very gently without packing the soil.”

Keeping plants indoors and watching them grow creates a strong bond.

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Costa Farms

Philodendron Birkin stands out on its own or can be combined with other tropical plants indoors.

Colleen Zacharias/Winnipeg Free Press

Bring tender potted succulents indoors before frost and only water them once every three to four weeks.

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