All summer, many of our houseplants have been vacationing out in the garden. Some of them really went wild over the season, and it is high time to get them under control and under cover indoors before they begin to suffer from the cold.

First, take a bit of time to assess the overall situation. It is possible that some of those potted plants are not worthy of the care they are going to require in the coming months. Now is the time to cull the weak and decide which of them make the cut and which do not. There is a bit of work to come to get the potted plants ready for the transition. No need to fuss over failing plants.

Rampant summer growth left this spider plant rootbound, and it appears to have consumed all the potting soil. Repotting will give it a good start for the winter months indoors to come. Lynette Walther

Once we are ready to move forward, we assemble our supplies — cleaning solutions, insect control, nutrients, fresh potting soil and clean pots. For some plants, the summer outdoors facilitated rampant growth. Trim away excess foliage as necessary. A long summer of luxuriant growth will often make it necessary to repot plants with new commercial potting soil in a clean pot. (Note: If reusing a container, make sure that it is properly cleaned, sterilized in a weak bleach mixture and rinsed out completely to prevent the spread of disease, which is often a major problem with indoor plants and can spread rapidly.)

Check plants and pots for insects. This means examining both tops and bottoms of foliage, stems and stalks and soil as well. If they are detected, manually remove insects or eggs if possible. Clinging insects like aphids can be washed away with a forceful spray of water from a garden hose. A spray of neem oil, mixed according to instructions, is a good idea to help eliminate both insects and possible fungus infections. Often ants will nest inside potted plants. If you suspect this has occurred, immerse the pot and plant in a bucket of lukewarm water and allow it to soak for several minutes. Drain well.

Now is a good time to give houseplants a dose of nutrients. Concentrated fish or kelp emulsion mixed according to instructions can be applied outdoors now. By doing this outdoors you can include soaking foliage as well. Over the coming months houseplants will not be requiring as much water as they have in the summer, and it is wise to withhold adding fertilizers until the spring when growth starts to pick up once again.

In addition to conditioning plants and pots to bring indoors, don’t forget the pot saucers. These too should be cleaned thoroughly and given a quick soak in a mild bleach solution, rinse well and drain.

In many gardens, there are tender plants and bulbs that have been growing in the ground since the spring but need protection now from freezing. Dahlias and gladiolus are two examples. One of the best ways to grow and store these tender tubers is in large pots filled with good garden soil. By using this technique, the gardener plants and grows the tubers in large pots.

Over the winter, the pots are stored in a cellar or cold location where they will not freeze. In the spring the pots are placed in a sunny window in a warm place to sprout and grow. Although the soil in the pots will be very dry, resist the temptation to water until green growth is evident. Otherwise, you could end up with rotted tubers instead of vigorous plants.

Then, when the soil outdoors warms up, the pots are sunk into the ground to grow and bloom over the summer months. Come fall, once the foliage dies back it is trimmed, the pots lifted and stored for the winter months to be used again for the coming spring and summer.

A bit of work now will ensure that as our outdoors gardens slumber over the winter, we can enjoy the color and life our houseplants will provide for the coming months.