University of Maryland Extension

Fall Houseplant Tips

snake plant

(More tips from HGIC)

  • Before bringing houseplants back into the house:
    • Check plants for ants, earwigs, pillbugs, and other nuisance insects.  Wash off insect pests or apply a labeled houseplant insecticide to control any plant pests such as aphids, scales, spider mites and mealybugs.
    • If the plants have outgrown their pots repot them into the next size pot or remove them, trim back the roots and repot in the same container. Use lightweight, well-drained soilless potting mixes. Contrary to old established practice, pebbles, stones, and shards from clay pots do not need to be added to the bottom of planting containers. This actually creates a higher water table and may reduce plant growth. When repotting, cut the root ball with a sharp knife at 2-4 inch intervals and remove brown, dead roots.
  • Once plants have been moved inside:
    • To reduce shock from the change of light, place newly moved plants in a bright location.
    • Be careful not to over water them during the adjustment period which can take several weeks.
  • This is a good time to take and root, stem and leaf cuttings from vigorously growing houseplants.  Place the cuttings in a soilless mix such as peat moss and perlite.  Keep the cuttings moist but not soaking wet and place them in a brightly lit location or under fluorescent lights.
  • If your African violet has become leggy cut the rosette off near the soil, leaving a 2-3 inch stem.  Repot into clean, moist potting soil, cover with a plastic bag sealed at the top and place the pot in diffused light.  In about six weeks, new roots will form.
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