Mark Cullen: Saving your tropicals
Published Wednesday, September 2, 2015 8:55AM EDT
How soon our summer ends.
How quickly our evenings get cool.
And how unhappy our tropical plants are when night time temps drop to 8 or 5 C.
You don’t have to wait for a killing frost to make a tropical hibiscus or Mandevilla vine unhappy. The chill of a cool evening is enough to shut down the cell structure of the leaves on many tropical plants and the results are ugly. Leaves then turn yellow and drop off in a hurry.
And we are left wondering what happened!
The answer is to bring your tropical plants indoors early, before evening temperatures drop below 10 degree C.
Or, if you don’t bring them right indoors, at least move them closer to a wall against your house, where the heat will radiate off of it onto the plant during the cool evening temperatures.
Once indoors, apply some insecticidal soap and wipe down the leaves of broad leafed plants to clean them up. Rain water and outdoor air can clog up the pours of a tropical plant and some insects can be imported indoors from out. Thus the insecticidal soap treatment.
Place your tropical plants as near to a south or west facing window as you can, even if the plant was not in full sun all summer. The intensity of the sun this time of year is much less indoors.
Relax the watering and only water when the soil is dry to about 5 cm deep [for a large pot] and 3 cm. for a small pot.
If there are yellowing leaves [which there will be] pickt hem off and remind yourself: you are not going to get the same performance indoors that you had outdoors. Fact is, if your tropicals survive to see another outdoor season next year, you have done well.
For more go to www.markcullen.com