How To Avoid Bugs When Bringing Potted Plants Indoors

Filed Under: Annual Plants, Insects, Container Gardens, Indoor Gardens · Keywords: Bugs, Insects, Avoid, Eliminate, Control, Soil, Containers, Plants, Brought, Bring, Indoors, Inside, Home · 4172 Views
I'm bringing in tender plants. How do I avoid bringing in bugs that might be lurking in the soil?

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Maria-This is a good question. If you are digging up the plants and potting them in order to keep them inside for the winter, removing most of the soil and potting with a new potting mix will get rid of any insects that were living in the soil. If the plants are already potted make sure any leaves or debri on top of the soil is removed and discarded. You can also remove an inch or two of the top layer of soil replacing it with new soil or planting mix. Most insects that live in the soil are often in their pupae or egg stage. Activity of many of these insects almost ceases during the winter months until conditions become more favorable in the spring. They are usually hidden in debri or within the upper layer of soil where they are protected from any spraying of insecticides. Before bring any plants indoors they should be inspected well for any insects. Whether you see insects or not it is a good idea to spray the plants foliage, top and underside of leaves, with neem oil or a mild, general purpose insecticidal soap. Spray the container and under and container lip also. This will kill most insects before moving your plant indoors. If any insects are seen during the winter the plant can be taken outside, sprayed again, then taken back inside.

Hopefully this has helped.


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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Hi Maria - John gave some very good suggestions for dealing with bugs in container gardens that will be brought indoors for overwintering. Only thing I can add is to maybe apply diatomaceous earth to the top of the soil in the container. This is a completely safe, food grade insecticidal dust that works to eliminate many types of insects that have an exoskeleton, such as cockroaches, ants, fleas and ticks. Most local nursery and garden centers carry this product or can order it for you. I just brought a Ponderosa Lemon tree indoors and the first thing I did was inspect both the underside and topside of leaves. Then sprayed the foliage fairly hard with water from the garden hose. Then I applied the diatomaceous earth. If bugs get on the plant while indoors I'll do as John mentioned and spray them with insecticidal soap.


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