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Once temperatures begin to drop, it’s disappointing to think about saying goodbye to some of your favorite outdoor plants. However, there are many outdoor plants, such as Geraniums, Alocasias, Begonias, and much more that we can move indoors to enjoy for the rest of the year.

Under ideal circumstances, some plants can continue to grow indoors and be treated as a houseplant. Others will enter winter dormancy, which means they will lose all their foliage, but you can store their corms, tubers, or bulbs in a safe, dry place and grow them again in the spring. To successfully move your outdoor plants indoors, there are a few things you need to learn how to do first.


alocasia houseplant

How to Move Your Outdoor Plants Indoors

When dealing with outdoor plants, it’s likely that they’ve seen their fair share of pests as they’re growing in a natural and uncontrolled environment. For that reason, the first thing you’ll need to know before moving indoors is how to thoroughly inspect your outdoor plants for bugs.

Check the top and underside of leaves, along the stems in all the crevices, and the top layer of soil for pests. If your plants are potted in containers be sure to inspect the containers for pests too, ants in particular like to crawl inside drainage holes. Cut back up to 1/3 of the foliage, and trim away any dead leaves and spent blooms. Pests know how to hide in decayed material, and you want your outdoor plant to be as clean and healthy as possible before you move it indoors.

Begin to move your plants indoors overnight so they start to acclimate to indoor conditions; abruptly transitioning from outdoor conditions to indoors is how they become shocked and may react negatively. Repeat bringing your plants indoors overnight and leaving them outdoors during the day, reducing the hours spent outside each time for one week. After that, your outdoor plants should be officially transitioned indoors.

A good rule of thumb when introducing new plants to your home is to keep them quarantined for up to two weeks. That way, if you missed a pest, it’s less likely to spread to any of your other plants. Once you’re sure they’re clean, you can move your new houseplants to a spot with their preferred light conditions. How to care for outdoor plants once they move indoors can differ for each plant, so it doesn’t hurt to do some research beforehand.

Many people mistake leaf loss as a sign that it is dying; however, leaf loss is a common occurrence when bulbs, tubers, and corms enter dormancy.

coleus and begonia hanging basket planter

Outdoor Plants to Grow as Houseplants During Winter

There are a surprising number of plants that can grow happily both indoors and out that you don’t need to worry about going dormant. These are a few we recommend:

  • Begonia
  • Coleus
  • Fuchsia
  • Geraniums
  • Hibiscus
  • Herbs

There are also a fair number of plants that can be overwintered but will most likely enter a dormancy period. Many people mistake leaf loss as a sign that it is dying; however, leaf loss is a common occurrence when bulbs, tubers, and corms enter dormancy. These are common outdoor plants you can overwinter as they go dormant:

  • Alocasia
  • Canna Lilies
  • Caladiums
  • Colocasia
  • Dahlias
  • Gladiolus


dormant houseplants on windowsill

How to Overwinter Dormant Plants

Once your plant goes dormant, you can either leave them in their pots or dig up the corms, bulbs, or tubers and store them in a dark, dry place. It’s best to leave these plants outside until the first frost, as the touch of cold is what triggers their dormancy.

Cut away dead or dying foliage to avoid pest or disease issues. If you decide to dig up the bulb, corm, or tuber, trim the roots and allow them to dry on newspaper for a couple of days. It’s imperative that the place you store these items is dry; otherwise, they can mold or rot, and all your efforts will have been wasted. Ensure that nothing is touching these plant materials, even neighboring bulbs or corms, because if one starts to mold, it can quickly transfer to the rest.

 If you have further questions about how to move your outdoor plants indoors, feel free to stop at our garden center in Moline, Illinois. We’re happy to assist you in all your gardening and landscaping needs!


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