This coming Thursday, September 22nd, is the Autumnal Equinox. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun is directly aligned with the equator. On this day, days and nights are of equal length.
From now until the Winter Solstice on December 21st, the dark hours will be longer than hours of daylight. Right now, our day length is right about 12 hours. On December 21st, the Winter Solstice, the day length will only be about nine and a half hours. By contrast, on the Summer Solstice, next June, our day length will be a little over 13 and three-quarter hours. (Don’t you miss summer already? I do…)
My houseplants will need to be brought in sometime during the next few weeks, so what I’ll do now is move all my sun-lovers to shadier spots outside so they can get used to the lower light levels they’ll encounter indoors. They’ll adjust much easier to less light while they’re still outside and have Mother Nature’s humidity and fresh breezes to “comfort” them.
I’ll do a visual check of all my plants to ensure I’m not bringing in any unwanted pests. Scale, mealy bugs, and spider mites can become much worse indoors where there are no natural predators so treat them now, if necessary. Horticultural oil or Neem Oil are good organic sprays, and so is Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.
To get rid of insects that may have taken up residence in the soil, add four tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of DAY-OLD water and drench the soil. The reason we use day-old water is our tap water contains chlorine. We want to let water stand overnight so the chlorine evaporates—that way we know we’re adding enough bleach to kill whatever is in the soil, but not so much that we damage the plant.
Don’t Repot Now
Now is NOT a good time to repot, by the way. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the worst times! It’s hard enough for a plant to adjust to the hot, dry air and lower light indoors without giving them a new pot to adjust to, as well.
Up the Light!
Remember, when you bring your houseplants back inside, make sure you do anything you can to “up” the light levels—don’t just open blinds—RAISE blinds to let the maximum amount of sunlight in.
Plants are already disadvantaged being inside. With days getting shorter and sunlight weaker, they’ll appreciate every bit of added light you can offer them. Consider augmenting with a grow-light if necessary.
And if, once you’ve moved everything back inside, you have a bare spot somewhere, we’ve got a great selection of plants to help fill it!