If you brought your houseplants outdoors in the spring and summer, you need to bring them back this fall season. However, make sure you get rid of any pests by following these steps on how to debug plants.
Every spring and summer, it’s a great idea to bring your houseplants outdoors to catch some extra rays. However, once the temperature cools down, you need to return your plants inside to avoid light frost, especially for tropical houseplants.
But this process isn’t as simple as carrying your plants back indoors (the carrying part is already giving me a backache). You need to help your houseplants adjust to the lower-light indoor environment. Additionally, there will also be changes in humidity, temperature, and watering. And the most important part you must do before bringing them indoors is to get rid of any pests they might have picked up at your balcony, deck, or yard.
Here’s how to debug plants for the fall and winter season.
Required Materials to Debug Your Plants
- Cotton swabs or balls
- Fresh potting soil
- Gardening gloves
- Large bucket or tub
- Mild soap
- Pruning shears
- Rubbing alcohol
- Scrub brush
- Small strainer with handle
When to Bring Plants Inside
You need to bring potted houseplants inside if your area experiences temperatures below 50°F or so at night. We have mentioned that tropical houseplants are sensitive to cold temperatures. A lot of tropical houseplants can’t survive below 40°F.
If you are bringing plants back inside, consider creating a space for them on counters and window sills or somewhere they can get enough light. It is also best to purchase new planters, in case you need to repot them.
Step-by-Step on How to Debug Plants
We’re not going to sugarcoat it. Cleaning and debugging houseplants sound harder than it really is. It requires a LOT of effort, patience, and time. However, we will do our best to make it simple for you.
Step 1: Fill Large Bucket or Tub With Soapy Water
The first step on how to debug plants is to fill a large bucket or tub with water and add a few drops of mild liquid soap. We highly recommend that you use a mild liquid soap to avoid damaging or killing sensitive plants. Never use soaps that contain degreasers or detergents.
Step 2: Put Plants in the Water and Soak Them
Yes, thoroughly soak your houseplants to kill any bugs or pests. Soak the whole plant in the bucket or tub for about 15-20 minutes. In case you can’t submerge the entire plant, grab your neem oil and completely spray all of the leaves.
Step 3: Scoop and Tidy
While the plant is soaking, bugs, dead leaves, soil clumps, and sticks will float to the top. The next step on how to debug plants is to scoop out all the floating pieces and keep the water as debris-free as possible because we’re going to reuse the soapy water on the next plant.
Step 4 & 5: Remove, Rinse, Repot (if necessary) Plants and Scrub the Containers Clean
Once your plant is done soaking, remove it, and carefully rinse off all of the soap residues. Then scrub each pot with a brush to clean it. Afterward, give your houseplant and pot a good rinse to get all the dirt and soap off of the plant.
Step 6: Drain the Water Completely
After all the soaking and rinsing, it’s time for our next step on how to debug plants, and that it is to allow the water to drain completely. It’s very important that your planter has a drainage hole. If it doesn’t have one, you can carefully drill a hole.
Step 7: Bring Your Plants Back Inside
Of course, the last step on how to debug plants is to move them back inside. Be sure to allow the soil to dry before watering them again.
Benefits of Debugging Plants
Aside from killing all the bugs, there are other benefits when you debug plants. Soaking plants will give them a good watering before you move them back inside. Plus, it removes all the dead leaves and other debris. Lastly, their pots will look sparkling clean too.
Learning how to debug plants is just the first step to keep your houseplants healthy. You need to provide them enough sunlight and water them less frequently this fall and winter season. Don’t forget to take note of the humidity and temperature of your indoor environment, as well.
Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.