Winter is not the easiest of times for plants. Most of them need protection to survive frost, but even houseplants, that you’d think would be safer under a roof inside a warm home, need special care to endure this season.
Luckily though, none of it is overly complicated, just simple things to watch out for and minor additions to your routine. Apply these tips to your houseplants, and they will live through the winter with no problem!
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain
1. Let light reach your plants
Houseplants need sunlight just like any other plant but during the winter, homes tend to stay enclosed for long periods of time, windows shut, drapes closed – combine that with cloudy weather and suddenly you’re a tropical houseplant living in England, which is not good.
What you can do to help your houseplants in this situation is to move them around closer to where they can get sunlight. The window can be closed, just let the sunlight in during the day!
2. Water less often
You don’t have to water your plants nearly as often during the winter. Plants tend to go dormant during winter to preserve themselves, and while the watering will vary from one plant type to another, it will surely be less than during summer, for example.
Keep a close eye on the soil to have a better understanding of when it’s time to water again – the plant will tell you when it wants more water.
3. Easy on the fertilizer
For the same reason as watering is not needed as often, fertilizing can also be dialed down. Plants barely grow during winter, so stuffing them with fertilizer is more likely to disturb their natural cycle and do more harm than good.
4. Keep them away from windows during frosty nights
Even with properly sealed windows and the heat on, keeping plants by windows at night can expose them to unnecessary cold, especially during frosty nights. Keeping houseplants closer to windows during the day is mostly fine because they need sunlight, but during the night it’s best to keep them away.
5. Clear dust
Staying indoors mostly with closed doors and windows lets a lot of dust accumulate over time. This is a common problem during the winter and is often solved by sweeping, vacuuming, and ventilating your home, but what does this have to do with plants?
Dust can accumulate over their leaves, which can prevent them from absorbing enough sunlight and encourages diseases. Luckily, the solution is simple – brush the leaves lightly with a duster or a damp cloth.
6. Move them away from heaters
It’s perfectly fine to light up the fireplace and keep the heater on during the winter, but be careful to not leave your plants too close to sources of intense heat. Excessive direct heat makes it quite uncomfortable for plants since it burns their leaves and messes with air humidity, both of which can create problems.
Be mindful of houseplants near fireplaces, heaters, radiators, and ovens.
7. Watch for pests
Even living indoors, houseplants can still suffer with pests. Spider mites and mildew can grow with the advantage that there are no natural predators around to help control spreading, so you’re the one in charge of that.
But if you watch your plants regularly, you should be able to notice whenever something is afoot. Treat any pest as soon as possible to prevent them from killing your plant or spreading to others.
8. Humidifiers can help
The dryness of an indoor environment that relies on artificial heating can be detrimental to houseplants, so to help them during this time, you can use a humidifier in the room. Misting plants manually also works!
9. Group plants together
Try to keep your plants together – in a group they raise the humidity around themselves, creating a beneficial environment for all of them.
10. Avoid repotting
Repotting your houseplants should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Houseplants tend to be weaker in general during this season already, and repotting demands a lot from them. If possible, it’s better to wait out this cycle and repot during spring.
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