Call me the Derrenbraun of indoor plants, because I’m about to read your mind… at the beginning of the summer, they took many indoor plants outside, and then subconsciously filled the gaps that formed with new plants. Now that the temperatures are dropping, think about how you can put them all back together: not to mention what you do with the half-dozen new plants you just ordered online. Am I right?

I don’t need to channel a mind reader to know that many of us are in this situation right now: Damn, I’ve just taken part in a plant exchange and sale to try to reduce my collection for the coming winter.

First, let’s discuss what to check before bringing existing plants inside. Do a thorough pest check. Snails love to hang out at the bottom of pots, so this is the first place to check. Plonk weevil can also get into indoor plant pots outdoors, so it’s worth checking the Root ball for its characteristic creamy c-shaped maggots. Inspect the leaves – especially the back and any tender new growth- for pests such as spider mites, aphids and thrips, as well as the nooks and crannies of mealy beetles. (And yes, you need a hand lens… as mentioned in issue 11. Each infected plant should be quarantined for a few weeks if possible and treated separately from the rest of your collection.

If the plants have attracted a lot of new shoots, it may be time to prune: if you don’t prune at that time, you may find that they will drop a few leaves as soon as they are indoors, as they will adapt to lower lighting conditions. Keep in mind that pruning plants strongly favors cool growth, which may not be desirable in conditions of decreasing light. So cut gradually and see how the plant reacts.

If a root ball is really overcrowded, consider repotting when the plant is likely to continue growing during the winter – this usually applies to plants in tropical regions. Plants that stop growing in winter should be left until spring, but you can cut the roots to help the plant cope with the winter months.

When it comes to setting everything up – I call it “Tetris autumnal Edition houseplants” -there are no easy answers. Getting inventive with shelves and wall displays helps: Facebook Marketplace is always full of inexpensive (or even free) furniture to maximize your space.

And this is a good Time to ‘Marie Kondo’ your plants: if a specimen no longer brings you joy, it may be time to find a new home for it. There is absolutely nothing to say that you should cling to plants forever, and there is no shame in admitting that you simply do not have the right conditions to allow a particular species to thrive.

Giving houseplants to friends and family, to the local charity shop, to the school classroom or even to a stranger on the street also makes you feel comfortable indoors: I know I’ve done all that. If you make space, you will have free time for your indoor plants this winter and you will make sure that you have room for the newcomers who will suddenly slip into your basket this fall (Yes, that’s when I read your mind again…)