What to spray on plants before bringing them indoors, is wise for every gardener to figure out the answer to this question before moving their plants into the home. Your outdoor plants could be infected with tiny pests hiding under the leaves and in the soil, which might be difficult to detect, spelling disaster if you bring them into your home.What To Spray on Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors

The best way to ensure there are no pests on your plant is to spray them, and without proper knowledge of what to use on them, things could get out of hand. Continue reading this article, and you will learn about different types of sprays and other steps to follow before you bring plants indoors.

What Can You Spray on Plants Before Bringing them Indoors?

You can spray on your plants before bringing them indoors with some alcohol solution, and neem oil. You can also spray some pyrethrum spray or pepper spray. You may go ahead and use eucalyptus oils, or even insecticidal soap on them.

Prolonged exposure to cold can slow down plant growth or kill them. Not all plants are winter-hardy and can survive cold climates, especially if they are potted and tropical plants.

But even the hardy ones cannot survive sudden drops below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is best to move your plants indoors in winter. However, remember to follow the steps above before bringing plants into your home.

– Alcohol Solution

Rubbing alcohol, also commonly called isopropyl alcohol, is an effective way to get rid of heavy pest infestations on your plants before moving them into your home. Although some people prefer applying the alcohol directly on the pests using a cotton swab, testing it on a small area of the leaves is better, to see if it can tolerate it to avoid burning your plants, which is why it is best to keep it away from the risk of such a consequence.Alcohol Solution for Orchids

To apply alcohol solution on your plants correctly, mix a cup of this alcohol with a quarter cup of water that you can dilute in a spray bottle and spray on a small portion of the plant to test it. Wait a few days to see if there is any burning.

If not, spray it all over the plant and repeat the process weekly until the infestation is gone, especially if it had infestations such as scales, or other pests, that may have laid their eggs around the plant.

– Neem Oil

If you prefer using an organic insecticide to debug plants before bringing them indoors, neem is your best bet. It contains an active ingredient called azadirachtin that suffocates the pests and scatters their system, so they stop feeding and reproducing, eventually killing them.

It is also a safe method since it targets garden pests and isn’t toxic to humans or animals. Knowing that the mixture you are using is an organic one, you would have in mind that it wouldn’t harm the plant as much as a chemically based spray would.

You can spray or place the oil directly on the plants or mix it with warm water in a spray bottle. Ensure you spray all the infected parts, including the stems, undersides of leaves, and the soil. The application should be done throughout the planting season and only in the morning or evening when the sun is coolest.

– Pyrethrum Spray

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide entirely derived from Chrysanthemum flowers. The active ingredient in pyrethrums is pyrethrins, which immediately paralyzes the pests if the solution is strong enough.

However, this insecticide is easily broken down by UV rays, so it is only viable for up to 48 hours and must be reapplied every few days until the pests are entirely gone. You would also need to reapply it anytime it rains as it can get washed away, and this way, you would see that the orchid is away from pests and protected in the winter time, when you bring it indoors.

Pyrethrum can harm beneficial bugs like bees and ladybugs, so it’s best to apply it when these bugs are dormant in the morning. Use a spray bottle when applying pyrethrum to ensure it hits the target pests for the best results.

– Pepper Spray

Not many people know that pests like spider mites, thrips, and aphids are repelled by pepper, including chili pepper, ginger, paprika, and black pepper. However, peppers don’t repel all pests, so you must determine the type of pests on your plants before applying pepper to them.

You can purchase natural repellents containing pepper from your local gardening store or make your DIY pepper spray. Either way, testing the spray on a small spot on your plant’s leaves before applying it is a good idea, because you must keep the plant away from infestations that come from pests.

Mix one or two tablespoons of cayenne or chili pepper in a liter of water and put it in a spray bottle to make your pepper spray. Spray the plant thoroughly every few days until all the pests are gone before moving indoors.

– Eucalyptus Oils

Due to its strong scent, eucalyptus oil is another excellent organic insecticide that works great for repelling wasps, fungus gnats, ants, and flies. It is also very effective in pest control for insects like whiteflies, aphids, and mites once they come in contact with it.

Additionally, it leaves your plants smelling fragrant and fills your home with a pleasant scent when you move the orchid plants indoors.Eucalyptus Oils for Orchid

To repel or eliminate pests on your plants, mix one teaspoon of eucalyptus oil with half a teaspoon of liquid washing soap and two cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake thoroughly and apply the mixture to your plants weekly until there are no signs of pests, and this way it would be in a safer space.

– Insecticidal Soap

Unarguably one of the safest, cheapest, and most effective methods of eliminating pests, insecticidal soaps are easy to use on outdoor and indoor plants. The best thing about this method is that it works on all pests and only kills on contact, so once it dries, it won’t harm other friendly insects that might wander onto your orchid.

Despite its non-toxicity, you must be careful when using insecticidal soaps, as they can damage plants like crane’s-bill when misused. It is often advised to purchase commercial insecticidal soaps since they are specially formulated to be gentle on plants. But you can make yours if you want to save some money.

To do this, you can mix mild dishwashing soap and water in a spray bottle, but you would have to do a spot test first as it can be harsh for your plant. Alternatively, you can use Castille soap, which is natural and less harmful in the long run. It is best to water your plants thoroughly before spraying the mixture and place them in a location with good airflow.

What Are the Steps to Spray on Plants Before Bringing Them Indoors?

The steps to spray on plants before bringing them indoors are to repot them, if needed, and soak them in some water and soap. Then, check the leaves for pests, and wash the pot well. You can now spray the plant, debug it, and move it indoors.

If your plants have been outdoors throughout their growing season, and you need to move them in for winter or create more space in your garden, you must follow these steps before spraying to avoid bringing trouble into your home. This will help the orchid to stay in when it is in its dormant season and to be without any trouble.

– Repot The Plant If Necessary

Before moving your plants inside, it is essential to repot any plants that might have outgrown their pots or whose potting mix must have degraded. Cut back their root growth to a third of their size and prune away any infected part using disinfected and sharp gardening tools. You must also try to cut dead branches and leaves for larger plants and remove any ones left in the container.Repotting Orchid Plant

– Soak Your Plants In Soapy Water

Whether or not you repot your plants, you must debug the plant to kill any insects that might be nested in the potting soil. This involves soaking the plant in a bucket filled with soap and water. Remember that this method only works with potted plants with enough drainage holes.

Fill a bucket with water and put in a few drops of liquid soap, and not more; especially make sure that the soap doesn’t contain detergents because this would not help. Dip the whole plant, still in its pot, in the bucket of tepid water and leave it to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Use a strainer to remove any insects and debris that float to the top and dispose of them before removing the plant from the bucket, because in a short period of time, they will be seen.

– Check The Leaves For Pests

Once you’ve removed the plant from the bucket, you still need to inspect them for any pests left on their leaves. This is important for large plants that weren’t completely submerged in the bucket of tepid water. Check the undersides of leaves for pests like aphids, mealybugs, and mites that are tiny and love to hide there.

If you notice small, white silk webs to small, brown feeding spots on leaves, this is a sign of spider mites. If you don’t see these symptoms but notice a sticky residue on the leaf surfaces, this is a sign that aphids, mealybugs, or scales have infested your plant.

– Wash The Pot and Rinse The Plant

After inspecting the plants for signs of pests, scrub and wash the pot with a brush thoroughly to avoid bringing dirt into your home. Then give the plant a good rinse until water pours out of the drainage holes.

Use a hose to remove all the dirt and soap and dislodge any pests left on the plants, be mindful not to harm the orchid, so don’t power wash it. Leave the pots to dry for a few hours before moving to the next step to avoid any fungi development.

– Spray Your Plants To Debug Them

For a more thorough debugging process, spray your plant with any of the spraying methods mentioned above. If you don’t want organic sprays, you can opt for an insecticide for a more potent control method.

But ensure you only use those cleared for use on the orchids, and this is when you must be detailed because you are going to be cleaning it from any disturbing pests that have stayed in the leaves.Spraying Orchid Plants To Debug

While spraying, start from the top and work your way to the base of the plant, covering every inch to ensure no pests are hiding anywhere. Repeat this process every two or three days or weekly if you’re using an alcohol solution or eucalyptus oil. Monitor the plants for about a week after the infestation is gone to ensure you did a thorough job.

– Move Your Plant Indoors and Resume Regular Care

Once you’ve moved your plants into your home, you can resume caring for them normally. However, keep it at the back of your mind that the growing conditions indoors are different from those outdoors, such as lower light and cooler temperatures.

In this case, you must place your plants where they can receive enough sunlight, and in an indirect way, because orchids are not ones that love direct sun. In their dormant phase you should make sure that they would get the right light, and also, you should cut back on the amount of fertilizer as well, because it wouldn’t feed them in winter as much as in their growing season.

Also, water your plants less often than outdoors because they will dry out slowly indoors, causing them to have excess water and probably develop root rot. However, humidity levels indoors are very low, so you can use a humidifier, if you have one, or place a pebble tray to keep your plants humid.


Summarily, here are a few points to note when spraying your plants before bringing them indoors:

  • To avoid damaging the leaves, you must do a spot test before spraying your plant.
  • Ensure your plants dry appropriately after washing them to avoid damaging the roots.
  • Once temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, move your pants indoors.
  • Make sure to give the plant the right care when it is time to bring them indoors, and try to tackle the pests with the right measures.

Bringing plants indoors can be tricky if you don’t follow due process and eliminate any pest infestations. Using this guide, you shouldn’t have any issues when moving your plants indoors.

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