Debugging and showering my plants

Under my gazebo on the deck where many of my houseplants live -April through October

Under my gazebo on the deck where many of my houseplants live -April through October

I have many houseplants that I bring in every fall. It is a ritual that I have been doing for many years with the oldest houseplants  being around 16+ years old. I have an attachment to the 3 largest houseplants which were from my dad’s funeral in 1998. The 3 Schefflera or Umbrella trees are quite tall and twisted and difficult to wrangle in and out of the house and my husband always says to me “why don’t you just cut them down?”

Just a few in front of the fireplace

Just a few in front of the fireplace

I just cannot do that.

About a dozen plants here to get a shower

About a dozen plants here to get a shower

For those out there reading this, you know what I mean…or feel…the plants are a part of me and cutting off any part is like cutting a piece of the memories out. They will have to be repotted next spring because the plants are root bound but for now they are clean and inside waiting for spring when they can bask in the fresh air and filtered sunlight again.

However, the real reason I am writing is to show you how I prepare and bring my plants in for fall. Being outside all summer attracts all kinds of insects onto the leaves and into the pots. I have 20 or so plants which include a couple different Begonias, Christmas cactus, a Poinsettia, several peace lilies and a couple variegated rubber plants. Bugs can be an issue.

This is all I use

This is all I use and this saves me so much time. I also use this or a spray bottle of soap when a plant becomes infested during the summer months.

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This metal wrought iron shelf sits under the gazebo during the summer

A big issue which is fairly simple to solve with 2 things- blue Dawn dishwashing liquid and an old hose fertilizer or lawn applicator. I should have posted this sooner but I just now brought the plants inside. See I am lucky- I live in zone 7b and I usually do not bring them in until the end of October when the nights get down to around 45. I do this for a couple different reasons:1) my Christmas cacti and Poinsettia need the cold nights for setting their blooms and 2) I have so many they take up a lot of space!

Oh  shoot and I have to add that the plants do not mind the cooler nights either.

One of my Schefflera that I have had for over 16 years

One of my Schefflera that I have had for over 16 years

I make things easy for myself because time is precious and who wants to spend it washing the bugs out of their plants? I have used this method for many years.

Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!

I fill the fertilizer applicator with about 2" of Dawn and put it on shower

I fill the fertilizer applicator with about 2″ of Dawn and put it on shower. You soak the plant in suds and let sit for 10 or more minutes. Sometimes you have to gently use your fingers to get dirt or webs off and then rinse off the plant and the soil a couple times. Make sure to drain the plants well before you bring them in and do not water for a week or so.

Sudsy shower - point the hose away from the plants to get suds going and to make sure the pressure is not too high. You may have to adjust the water pressure for more delicate plants.

Sudsy shower – point the hose away from the plants to get suds going and to make sure the pressure is not too high. You may have to adjust the water pressure for more delicate plants like this Christmas cactus.

One of the Scheffleras covered in sudsy water

One of the Scheffleras covered in sudsy water which I soak the plants and the spray the pots and soil and let it sit for about 10 minutes (may be longer since I am doing about 20 plants) and then go back and rinse off the plants and dirt.

Poinsettias are very delicate so I carefully soaked it in suds and let it sit for a couple minutes.

Poinsettias are very delicate so I carefully soaked it in suds and let it sit for a couple minutes.

My 4' tall variegated rubber tree which is always dirty and full of webs. I usually have to wash the leaves with my fingers and then rinse

My 4′ tall variegated rubber tree which is always dirty and full of webs. I usually have to wash the leaves with my fingers and then rinse

I also showered my tropical hibiscus, ferns and other plants that will go in the garage for overwintering.

I also showered my tropical hibiscus, ferns and other plants that will go in the garage for overwintering.

My newest peace lily addition which was bought last month on clearance for less than $3 and needs repotted before it comes inside tomorrow.

Using My newest peace lily addition which was bought last month on clearance for less than $3 and needs repotted before it comes inside tomorrow.

Using this method also works during the summer for your outdoor plants that may become infested with aphids and other bugs. Just wait until early morning and shower the plants with suds and let sit (soap kills many bugs) and I try using this before I get out any pesticide or insecticides.

4 thoughts on “Debugging and showering my plants

  1. That’s a great idea .Have to try this as I have a problem with spiders and bugs in my plants . They will have to come in soon! I live in south eastern area.Thanks !

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