Episode 68: preparing your houseplants for winter

Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Photograph: Jane Perrone.

It’s the time of year when we do the houseplant shuffle - that desperate effort to get all the houseplants safely inside before they are ripped apart by winter winds or rendered crinkly with an overnight frost. In this episode I demonstrate how I get a plant ready to come inside, and talk to Norwegian nursery owner and houseplant collector Tommy Tonsberg about how he gets his plants through the long winter.

How to prep your plants for winter

  • If plants have been holidaying outdoors, check them thoroughly for pests - that means looking at leaves top and bottom, both sides, taking the plant out of its pot and checking for any hitchhikers such as slugs, snails and root mealies.

  • If you do have an infestation, clear them off by whatever means necessary (wiping with a damp cloth and insecticidal soap sprays for instance) then quarantine the plant once inside so it doesn’t pass any pests on to other plants.

  • Plants that have put on a lot of foliage growth over summer can be cut back if necessary to fit into their space: this also gives the plant less leaves to support over winter. You will find that this reduces leaf drop and encourages the plant to stay bushy.

  • Finally, do listen to episode 18 of On The Ledge which talks specifically about prepping cacti and succulents for winter.


Tommy Tonsberg conversation pointers

  • Check out Tommy’s website Frozengardener.com for some great blogposts about houseplants and details and images of his garden and nursery - check it out, it’s gorgeous!

  • You’ll find Tommy on Twitter as @tommytonsberg and on IG as @tommytonsberg - check out his IG stories for details of how to propagate hoyas.

  • Tommy and I have recorded a podcast for Patreon subscribers about his burgeoning collection of hoyas. This will be out early next week for Patreon subscribers of $5 a month or more. Scroll down to find out more about how to become a Patreon subscriber.

On The Ledge on tour

On the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and horticulturist Rob Stacewicz and all kinds of leafy fun! Put this date in your diary NOW!

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This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward, both licensed under Creative Commons, and Hot Lips by Bill Brown and his Brownies.

Jane Perronedormancy, winter, hoyas