Easy trick to debug plants before moving them inside for winter10/05/2022
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All plants are susceptible to insects lurking in the soil and foliage, many of which are harmless. While bugs are a natural part of gardening outdoors, they can become a nuisance when they make their way into your home after moving plant pots indoors for the winter. Fortunately, getting rid of bugs before bringing plants inside is not as hard as it sounds, according to gardening experts. They explained that all you need is a few simple items to complete this “crucial step”.
As the temperature drops, many plants need to be moved indoors to overwinter during the coldest months.
Tender varieties such as fruit trees and tropical flowering plants should be the first to move inside, along with houseplants that have been left outside during the warm summer.
Every type of plant can harbour different bugs and pests, all of which are difficult to remove by simply picking them out one by one.
However, according to experts at Get Busy Gardening, soaking the pots is the easiest way to rid plants of bugs before bringing them indoors.
They said: “Debugging and cleaning potted plants before bringing them back inside is a crucial step to avoid houseplant bug problems.
“Aphids, mealybugs and other types of houseplant insect pests aren’t normally a problem when potted indoor plants are outside, but they can quickly turn into a major infestation during the winter if they are brought inside on your houseplants.”
For potted plants with drainage holes, the best remedy to quickly remove bugs is a simple soap water soak.
Start by filling a large tub or bucket with water and add a few drops of mild liquid dish soap.
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The gardening experts warned against using any soaps which contain degreaser or detergent as these can damage, or even kill sensitive plants.
Once the bucket is full, place the whole plant – inlcuding the pot, in the tub for 15-20 minutes.
According to Get Busy Gardening, the soapy water will kill any bugs lurking on the plant or in the soil without any scrubbing or digging required.
They said: “When you put the plants into the water, dead leaves, bugs and other debris will float to the top, so you will need to remove all the floating pieces you can before removing your plants to keep them nice and clean.”
To ensure every last bug is out of the plant, use a wide kitchen strainer or sieve to skim the top of the water before taking the plant out of the bucket.
When the water is clear, lift the plant out and scrub the pots clean using a small, hard-bristled brush and more dish soap.
Rinse the excess by using a hose or a bucket of clean water to remove all traces of pests, dirt and debris.
The gardening experts noted the importance of draining the pots completely before moving plants indoors. They added: “Once you have them put back into their indoor spot and ready for winter, be sure to allow the soil to dry before watering them again to make sure you’re not over watering them.”
How to debug large plant pots
The soaking method is simple and effective for smaller plants, though larger pots may struggle to fit inside a bucket or container.
If this is the case, a spray solution will work just as well. To make the cleansing liquid, combine one teaspoon of mild liquid soap per one litre of water and pour it into an empty spray bottle.
Spritz all over the plant leaves and soil and rinse thoroughly using a garden hose.
Once the leaves are clean, spray the plant with neem oil for extra protection against pests.
The spray solution is also helpful for cleaning leaves which are not fully submerged while soaking in the pots.
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