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Over the past week I’ve brought a few plants in every day. I have an assortment of tropicals, succulents, and houseplants that go out for summer camp every year and come back indoors once temperatures begin to fall. Usually my goal is to get them inside when the night temperatures routinely begin falling to 50 °F and below. This year I’m a tad late.

People frequently ask me what I do to avoid bringing insects indoors along with the plants, and I honestly answer “Nothing much.” The worst insect that sometimes shows up when I move plants indoors are the fungus gnats. If those pesky fruit flies appear I put out some yellow sticky cards (aka whitefly traps) and pour spinosad (aka Captain Jack’s) concentrate in the watering can for a month or so…this takes care of the problem. Once there were some ants that had nested in a pot and I had to take that plant back outside, knock the dirt and ants out, and re-pot it. But that was years ago and it hasn’t happened since.

The biggest problem is rounding up all the saucers or other dishes to put underneath these pots so that the plants don’t piddle on the floors. No matter that I save them from year to year…every fall it’s a scramble that involves rummaging in the garage and at least one trip into the garden center. Once things are in place, however, I love having the plants back. Passing by my front room, where most of the succulents and other sun-lovers are stationed, the fresh array of plants catches my eyes and heart.

All of the plants look pretty darn fantastic after having been Fresh Air Kids for six months. They’ve had regular water, fertilizer, and the real deal when it comes to sunlight. The plants come indoors at their peak of health, and remain that way for at least three months. Toward the end of January they start to look a bit discouraged, but then who doesn’t?

Bringing the plants inside allows me to see the interior of my house anew; I can enter each room and be surprised. Of course the same thing happens every spring when I put the plants outdoors again. In the fall I’m delighted by the sudden abundance of indoor greenery and in the spring I’m pleased to have the uncluttered, open space back once more. I love being in a place where the seasons change, inside and out.

The front room faces south, so this is where most of the cacti, agave, and other succulents go, along with a begonia or two...

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