Crotons and rhapis palms used with marigolds

Sansevieria used with white million bells

My friends and I took a day off and had lunch and window shopped in a small town near us. I hadn’t walked too far when I saw these tropical/house plants used in a planter on the street corner. I love it!

It seems this concept of using tropical plants in outdoor plantings for the summer is becoming more popular. This is a great thing for the tropical plant industry!  I have such a love for houseplants though, I don’t use them outside because I wouldn’t be able to let them die like annuals (which they technically are here in Michigan). And, I don’t need more plants inside- yeah right! Haha

But, if you are like me, and don’t want them to die, you can use them outside and then bring them inside to overwinter for use next summer or to use as houseplants.

If that is what you decide you want to do, there are some steps to take. The first thing to do, is dig up the plant and pot it into an appropriate sized container. This will involve cutting some roots to get it out of the ground.  I would probably wash the soil off or tease as much out of the roots as posssible and plant it in good houseplant soil.  Water it well and  then let it rest outside in the shade for a couple of weeks. This resting period will also help get the plant acclimated to moving into a darker house. It is always a good practice to acclimate your outdoor-summered houseplants to coming back inside to a darker environment than what they are used to outside. This involves putting them into a shady place a couple of weeks before you plan on moving them in.  Wash your windows inside and out before bringing your plants in. You would be surprised how much more light comes in a clean window than a dirty one. Of course, this process starts well before the temperatures at night start dipping into the 50’s. Be prepared. Your plant may drop some leaves and pout for a few weeks but usually will come around. Before you bring your plants in it is also a must to check them over for any pests. Wash them well and I personally would put a systemic insecticide in the soil to ensure nothing unwanted comes in to infest my other houseplants.

If this sounds like too much work, use them as annuals and forget about them. It isn’t a crime.

Either way, use some tropicals in your plantings outside and enjoy them!

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