Q. Are there any houseplants that should stay outdoors in the fall to promote bud formation?
A. A few houseplants benefit from the shorter days and cooler temperatures of October, such as Christmas cactus, azalea, and kalanchoe. Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera hybrids) can stay outdoors until nighttime temperatures drop to 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Once buds have developed sometime in late fall or early winter, move the plant into the room you where you will keep it while it blooms. Azalea (Rhododendron hybrids) needs six weeks of 40 – 50 degree temperatures in the fall to set buds. Move it into an unheated garage where it will remain cool but not frozen until bud set. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana hybrids) need long sunny days followed by two weeks of short days (less than 12 hours long). Plan to bring them in just before nighttime temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Once you bring them in, keep the plants in a room that does not have lights on at night. Kalanchoe should bloom in January or February.
Please contact Plant Information Service at (847) 835-0972 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more detailed information.