Fall Preparation: How to Debug Indoor Plants


Did you take your plants outside during the summer months? Well your not alone. Many plant lovers do, including me. Why wouldn’t we? As plant parents, we not only strive to keep our plants alive but we want them to grow better, stronger and more vivid in colour. Basking in the sunshine (or indirectly) and soaking up the humidity does just that.

How do we bring them back inside for the fall/winter… and without bugs?

First, it is important to know when to bring your plants inside and second how to be sure your not bringing in bugs with your plants.

We all want to prolong summer and often we try doing this by keeping our plants outside a little longer than they should be. This is why houseplants should be brought back inside at least a month or so before the warm weather fades away. This also will allow for a “similar” indoor/outdoor temperature, therefore avoiding the plants from going into shock. That said, if you wait longer you risk a cool or cold night that can cause your precious plants to loose their leaves or worse.. they could die.

Each plant has a minimum/maximum temperature that it can tolerate. Most indoor plants are actually perennials that do not like the cold! When I say cold I mean under +10 degrees Celsius depending on the plant!

Do you have a lot of plants to bring in before the cool weather? Than don’t leave it to the last minute or all for one day. It’s just too time consuming and if your like me..I will get tired and well may decide to take my chances with a few outside a bit longer!

Also by scheduling a few days to debug and clean up the plants you will have time to repot those plants that need to be in larger pots or divide groupings.

Debugging is a crucial step in avoiding later bug problems because bugs and larva often lay eggs or nest inside the soil of potted plants in and effort to stay warm.


  • large bucket or tub
  • mild dish soap
  • kitchen/utility strainer or fish net
  • scrub brush
  • spray bottle
  • towels

Steps to Debugging Plants:

  1. Fill bucket with water and soap (less is more and avoid de-greasers)
  2. Put plants into the bucket to soak – about 15-20 minutes. The soapy water will kill any bugs in the soil.
  3. Clean the leaves that are not submerged with cloth. Use commercial insecticidal soap if needed. Or make it 1 tsp of mild dish soap to 1 L of water, use spray bottle.
  4. Be sure to scoop out loose debris, leaves or bugs off surface before lifting plant out.
  5. Remove the plant and pot. Scrub the pots clean and rinse both the pot and plant.
  6. Allow the plant/pot to drain completely off to the side. Once drained and leaves dry, move it inside.
  7. Clean surface of bucket before soaking next pot.
  8. For large floor plants: use insecticidal soap above with a cloth than rinse with hose and or use Neem oil after. (Always check plants reaction to Neem oil before using on whole plant.)

Spa Treatment

Remember this is a great way to treat your plants to a spa experience! Soak, wash, rinse, trim and finish with a style (rock topping/new moss pole). We all want this…. for our plants! 😉

Joking aside, this is a great time to transplant root bound plants, shine the pots, wash the leaves and take cuttings or divide pups 🙂

So mark your calendars and plan your spa days… or evenings and lets get these babies inside without bugs!

Have a question about this post or a plant, comment below or drop an email to me here at dreamingtothemaxmail@gmail.com

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