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Cool Nights? Time to Bring in Your Houseplants!

Ferns are easy houseplants that thrive in the summer weather, but need to be brought indoors as the temperatures drop.Not only do gardeners enjoy the outdoors during the warm summer months, but their houseplants do, too.  Bringing your indoor plants outside on a shady porch for the season always helps them grow and keeps them happy.

As the weather begins to turn cooler, however, it comes time to bring them back into the house, along with a few other plants you may have in your garden.  The specific date to bring them in by varies with the weather, so it changes each year.  There are some general guidelines on when to bring your houseplants in, which additional plants you can overwinter in your home, and how to do so.

There are two ways to tell when you should start packing it in: the first is when the leaves start falling from the trees. The second is when overnight lows start dropping below 45 degrees.  Once these cooler nights start to occur, you will need to begin to make the adjustments for bringing in your plants.

Each houseplant has different requirements for light, water and soil, so before you make the space for them inside, be sure you know what will keep them happy.  Generally speaking, a room with southern exposure is the best place for plants during the winter, because there they will get the most light. 

Another thing to look at is the distance between the window and the plant.  Certain tropicals that you bring indoors may not do well if they are directly next to the window, as it may be too cold in January or February.  Other plants could get fried by getting too much direct sun being close to a window.

An additional care requirement may be cutting the plant back.  For example, hibiscus need to be cut back when you are overwintering them, while peace lilies can just keep growing.  So be sure you know what each plant needs that you are bringing in, as well as if you have the space for it. If you have a plant that you’re not sure about, feel free to contact us by phone (630-323-1085) or e-mail (verngoersgreenhouse@gmail.com) and we can help you with the care requirements.

There are other houseplants that you can overwinter indoors in addition to the typical houseplants. Some popular plants to overwinter in our area include hibiscus, croton, palms and gardenia.  Other annuals, like begonias, geraniums, coleus and shamrock, or oxalis, can make it indoors overwinter as well. There are also plants that come from a bulb that you can dig up and store in a cool dry place in a paper bag over the winter.  These include caladium and elephant ears. 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of plants that cannot make it indoors.  Flowers like petunias, zinnias, impatiens and marigolds to name a few, do not grow indoors. These are bred to only grow one season, so unfortunately we have to toss them once frost has hit them.

Once you have found which plants you want to save, and where you are going to keep them, there are a few techniques you need to get them adjusted to their new environment. Wash the plant down with a light spray on all sides of the leaves to get rid of any bugs that might be on the plant.  Some of your plants can also be repotted into a larger pot with fresh soil to give them room to grow over the winter.

When you move them indoors, there is a chance that they’ll go into a little bit of shock due to the change in climate.  To avoid this you can gradually move them into conditions more like what they are going to be in once inside your home.  If not, they may not look that happy for a few days, but they will come out of the shock.

Once the plants are inside, remember that they will not need to be watered as frequently during the winter months.  Rather than every other day, you may need to water them as little as once a week.  You can also mist plants like ivy once a week to help prevent spider mites, which can often occur on ivy when they are indoors.

While the weather outside gets to be cold and frightful, you can keep your gardening going indoors with the right plants and the right conditions.



With the first day of fall upon us, the latest newsletter is out!  

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It's Time to Plant Bulbs!


With the seasons changing and cooler weather on its way, it can only mean one thing: Bulb Time. We carry a wide variety of bulbs from the Netherlands and with so many to choose from, the possibilities are endless.

So, you ask, why bulbs?

Bulbs give you the first sign of Spring! At the end of the cold winter months, nothing gives you more hope than seeing the little green sprouts popping up around your yard.

Bulbs are reliable and always there.   Once planted, they will keep coming back!

Bulbs don’t need a great deal of maintenance.  Just a bit of bone meal or bulb-tone sprinkled into the soil, to fertilize them once a year.

Bulbs give you great color and texture to add to any spring or summer garden—some look quite exotic!

Bulbs are really a high end product for little cost and little time needed to get great results.


Transitioning Your Containers

It's hard to believe that school is back in session.  What happened to the summer? Better yet, what happened to your pots this summer?

With such extreme heat and drought this year, it was tough to keep anything alive; even the greenest thumbs were struggling.  So now that the weather is beginning its transition into fall, your pots should be too. However, that doesn't mean tearing everything you kept alive all summer out of your containers.  Many of your summer annuals can make the transition into the fall, leaving you to fill in a few gaps here and there with fall flowers.

One of our favorite annuals to keep into the fall is the petunia.  With the deep purple and black colors available, these are great trailers to any spooky Halloween container.  Geraniums will also keep going for you into the cooler weather, and will even start to look better than they did in the heat this summer.  Other summer annuals that you can keep in your pots through the fall are osteospermum (similar to a daisy), creeping Jenny, vinca vine, English ivy, waxed begonias, gomphrena, salvia, marigolds, fuschia, dusty miller, snapdragons and alyssum.

Unfortunately, all summer annuals are not equipped for the cooler temperatures.  Sweet potato vine is a favorite among many gardeners, but when the cool nights return, it is one of the first to get hit with the cold.  If you want to try to keep these more sensitive plants going, we recommend covering your containers with a lightweight dishcloth or bed sheet any time it falls below 45 or 50 degrees over night. This may work temporarily, but eventually it will become too cold for them.  Other cold sensitive plants include basil, angelonia, impatiens, zinnias, caladiums, and any tropicals like hibiscus.

Though they don't live year round here in the Midwest, one of the best parts of transitioning some of your summer annuals is seeing them get their second wind.  As the weather has started to cool down and we have gotten some rain, you may have noticed thses annuals have begun to bloom more and grow larger.  We recommend helping them along with the transition by feeding them with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus, which is the middle number on the box (10-54-10).  One specific brand we recommend is Miracle Gro Bloom Booster, which easily mixes in your watering can to feed your pots.

So as temperatures cool down, and your summer pots look out of place, switch out some of the plants with mums, kale, pansies, and ornamental peppers.  But don't be afraid to keep some of your red, yellow and oranged summer annuals around, too. 


Spotlight On: Polka Dot Plants

Scientific Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya

Common Name: PolkaDot Plants

Plant Type:  Annual, Houseplant

Sun:  Shade to Part Sun

Water: Moderate

Foliage Color: White, Red, Pink marbled with Green

Height: 6 to 10 inches

Polka dot plants are great annuals to use in containers and garden beds alike, but what many people don't know is that they make great houseplants, too.  Their colorful foliage can help break up the usual green leaves that most flowers have, especially in shade gardens that may not get quite as many colorful blooms as sun gardens.

For planting Polka Dot Plants outside, find a shadier area with moist, well-drained soil.  When growing indoors, polka dot plants want indirect light and even do well in low light situations. In both situations, Polka Dot Plants only need to be fertilized about once a month. If the plant begins to get a little bit leggy as it grows, be sure to cut back the canes to allow for the plant to bush out.