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Nurturing - Wintering Over

When the nighttime temperatures no longer hint of summer, but rather the crispness of fall, it's time to bring certain plants indoors. Which plants? All houseplants summering outdoors should be moved in, as well as any tender perennials, such as fuschias or geraniums (pelargoniums), or annual cuttings, such as coleus, that you'd like to keep over the winter.

Around September or October, depending on where you live, you should start moving them into your house or other sheltered area; they should all be inside by first frost. Plants left outside may have acquired some bugs, so before you bring them indoors, spray water on the leaves--the undersides as well as the topsides--to remove all insects. Repotting can also greatly reduce the number of resident bugs, as can submerging the pot in water.

Reduce your plants' watering and fertilizing schedule once inside. Now that they're not exposed to the sun and drying winds, they'll need less food and water. By moving your plants indoors during the colder months, you'll not only extend their life, but you'll create an indoor winter garden for yourself.