Magic Forty

Every fall, I keep a close eye on forecasted night temperatures, especially as we approach our area’s average first frost date around the middle of the month. I am looking to determine when to return tender perennials, such as our tropicals, to our small hoop house. The magic temperature I watch for is forty degrees. Most of my plants do not fare well when night temperatures dip and linger below this mark. Succulents are a slightly different story. Many succulents come from areas of the world where such low temperatures are not an uncommon occurrence. 

As you think about bringing those beloved plants back inside, there is a list of things to consider and do. It is critical to carefully check the plants over, above and below the soil line, to ensure there are no unwanted guests making the trip with you through the sliding patio door.

Also critical will be changing your care routine. Cutting back on watering, cutting back on fertilizer and cutting back the plant are standard operating procedure for transitioning plants to the indoors once again. Remember, most of these plants enter a dormant-like state, doing little until light and temperatures return to levels conducive to growth.

Whether you are a crazy plant person (you know, the one whose living room looks like the Amazon rainforest from the street) or just have a couple of patio beauties, the same story applies. Now, go cozy up to your favorite houseplant.

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager


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