How to keep outdoor plants healthy indoors over the winter

DENVER — While tropical houseplants with low light needs can cope with winter, holdover summer plants sometimes struggle. These include geraniums, hibiscus, flowering maple, dwarf citrus, coleus, bloodleaf and other favorite patio plants. Lower winter light levels may result in straggly growth. Plants will stretch towards the sun and get lopsided. 

Turn your plants frequently. The top growth will stay balanced rather than leaning to one side. 

Don’t overwater. The roots can rot. In addition, too much water encourages more lanky, scraggly growth.

Don’t fertilize. This also encourages spindly growth. Save fertilizing until the days are longer and the sunlight is stronger. 

Keep your plants groomed and pruned. Cut back lanky growth to help keep the plants compact and bushy. Some of these cuttings can be rooted in water or in soil, giving you a whole bunch of new, free plants. 

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