Houseplants can sense the fall and winter seasons with shorter days and cooler, dryer air. They will adjust their behaviors to reserve energy, and may grow and flower less. Here are a few tips to keep your plants healthy through the winter.
In spring and summer, plants grow and flower more vigorously, powered by plentiful sunlight. In fall and winter, however, some plants might need to be moved closer to a window during to receive adequate sunlight. South-facing windows can provide bright light or open the shades and blinds during daytime to maximize sunlight for your plants. You can also add artificial light in the winter months.
Plants will get crispy and dry out when located too close to radiators, fireplaces or wood stoves. Move plants away from house heat sources. Drafty windows, cold window sills and front doors constantly opening can also stress your plants. You should place plants in an area of your home with a consistent temperature.
Many plants will enter a phase of dormancy during the winter months so it is important to modify your watering habits. Test soil with your finger and only water when necessary, not on a regular — often weekly — schedule like the other three seasons. When watering is needed, water your plant thoroughly until the water drains freely out of the bottom of the pot. Overwatering can cause root rot and the plant will wilt.
Most houseplants are tropical and prefer humidity. Some plants enjoy misting in the winter months to increase humidity and remove dust from their leaves. You can place plants on humidity saucers (inexpensive plastic saucers with rocks and water) to replace needed humidity in a dry indoor environment.
Plants need less fertilizer in the winter months. One or two applications of a liquid or granular fertilizer between October and February are generally enough. Over-fertilizing will show in tip burn or salt build up on the soil surface. Neptune’s Harvest is an exceptional organic houseplant fertilizer.
Bringing Houseplants in from “Summer Camp” on the Porch
Many plant parents like to put their houseplants outside in the summer, which is great. But we recommend you take these steps when you bring them back indoors, so you don’t bring any insects inside with you.