Waking to morning temperatures of fifty degrees reminds me that it is time to start rounding up the tropical plants scattered throughout the garden and get them ready for their winter home indoors!
I gather a few plants each day and move them to the driveway where they are close to the door just in case a surprise freeze warning should come upon us. Gathered plants are cleaned, pruned and shaped. Some pots will require a light topdressing of soil. Plants ready for a larger pot will wait until spring.
Once gathered on the driveway, I spray the plants with Neem oil or All Seasons Oil to rid them of unwanted guests such as spider mites and scale. The oil spray also helps the leaf surface to retain moisture during the dry winter months. Avoid spraying plants with fleshy leaves such as clivia and jade.
Foliage plants will require a bit of food over the winter months. A very light application of a time release fertilizer such as Osmocote at this time or a monthly application of a water soluble fertilizer at half strength will supply them with the nutrients they need for a healthy winter. Cacti and succulents are dormant for the most part during the winter and will only require a bit of water every two to three weeks depending on location.