From the garden of Beth DiGioia, TAOLB Resident Gardener
The houseplants that you brought outside have been enjoying their summer vacation, but it’s just about time to bring them in.
Before doing so, check the leaves (especially the undersides) and stems carefully for signs of pests. Most can be easily dislodged with a spray of water. For a serious infestation, consider spraying with Safer Soap (follow label directions and move the plant into the shade before spraying).
Soil dwelling pests can be encouraged to vacate by submerging the entire root ball in a bucket of water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid added.
Large pots that are too cumbersome to submerge can be treated with a soil drench: Mix two tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of day-old water and pour on the soil until it flows out of the bottom (allow the mixture to flow out and away from the container).
Even with these precautions, it’s a good idea to isolate the plant for a few days to make sure all the hitchhikers have moved on.
For more of Beth’s gardening tips, visit our McKinney Gardens page.