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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

unhardening?

So the days are getting shorter, I'm planting for fall and it occurred to me to wonder about all the containers I bring indoors in the fall.

In the spring when I bring things out, I carefully harden them off, exposing them to sun a little bit at a time. In the fall, I just plop them in the house. It's always worked, so I guess there's no point in fixing what ain't broke, but still I wondered if anyone does un-hardening, gradually getting plants used to less sun?
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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: unhardening?

I have a lot of container plants and they need to come in as the temps fall according to my temperature schedule which I posted before.

I'm not intentionally unhardening per se, but I start by moving the containers to the patio where I proceed to spray off the leaves and scrub the containers, sometimes uppot or repot. I do this as "these are the ones that need to come in next" kind of self reminder too. Sometimes they are moved in and out for a while from there until they can't stay out any more. In a pinch, I cover them with floating covers, old nylon shower curtains or sheets, or shove them under the teak patio table and cover them.

I'm not very organized so I have to straighten up inside and make room for them as they come in -- so it becomes a process.
- They spend a few days at least on the SE facing brick patio where the trees block the early morning sun with light shade to dappled sun and the house blocks the mid afternoon to sunset with solid shade. It's also protected due to the brick heat sink and house on the NW side and privacy fence on the NE side.
- At first they come inside to downstairs brightest windows with supplemental lights.
- As it gets colder, and the more cold tolerant plants start coming in, the plants that prefer mid-60's or above during the winter are taken to upstairs windows with supplemental lights while the mid-60's or below plants are situated downstairs. After the temperature, appropriate available lighting levels determine where they spend the winter. Some plants don't need any supplemental lights.
- I also have viny indoor "greenhouse" covered shelving fitted with 6500K lights in a NW facing room that won't get any direct sunlight during the winter. But I found out orchids, succulents, African violets and pineapple are very happy in there. Even though it's a cold room near drafts from an outside door, all the lights and a heat mat inside the greenhouse cover keep them pretty warm -- 70's to 80's.
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