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Bringing Your House Plants Back Indoors...

Hi! I have some plants I have kept outside on the balcony for the last 7 months.
With the weather growing cold, I had to bring them inside.
I am concerned about them having bugs or something (they are very bushy plants).
Is there anything I can do?
Thanks, Lisa

Inspecting Your House Plants for Pests

When you bring your plants in for the winter, the most important thing is to isolate them from your other plants until you are certain of their cleanliness.
If it is possible to turn the plant out of the pot and examine the root ball, do it.
Most soil borne insects will be noticeable in the dirt. A grey/white web like substance in the rootball is indication of root mealy bugs, and must be dealt with by drenching the soil with Diazinon. Other infestations must be dealt with using appropriate measures for the insect.
Examine the foliage and stem structure of the plant, paying close attention to the underside of the leaves, where it might be necessary to use a magnifying glass to look for spider mites..
Spider mites and many of the other common plant pests can often be eradicated with a couple of dips into room temperature, mildly soapy water, or a gentle spray of warm soapy water.
Also watch for cocoons and egg sacks, which can be removed with a Q-tip dipped in a bit of alcohol.

Diagnosing other House Plant Problems

The bottom line is to just keep a close eye on your plants, and preferably keep them a safe distance from your other plants.
You will find a House Plant troubleshooting guide here.
I oppose using insecticides for preventative measures, but if you find and identify an insect pest and you have tried organic methods without success, check with a local nursery for the appropriate chemical application.

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