Many house plants are actually tropical plants that can’t survive our winter temperatures outside. So we bring them inside year round or for the winter. They are, after all a great way to brighten the indoor environment! How do we care for these plants?


· On cold nights, move houseplants back from icy windows to prevent chilling injury.


· Over-wintering geraniums like bright light and cool temperatures. Keep soils on the dry side.


· Be sure newly purchased indoor plants are well protected for the trip home. Exposure to icy temperatures for even a few moments may cause injury.


· Water houseplants with tepid water. Cold tap water may shock plants.


· Holiday Poinsettias need sun for at least half the day. You will need to keep them away from drafts, registers and radiators as they may drop the colorful brachts. Poinsettias can tolerate night temperatures in 50's or low 60's, days at 70 degrees. The soil should dry only slightly between thorough waterings. Discard the drainage, be sure to punch holes in decorative foil wraps to prevent soggy soil conditions.

— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty. The Harvey County Extension Office can be contacted at 284-6930.