Houseplants do struggle in winter, but you can keep them happy when you follow these nine tips.
- Water less often,
- Give plants plenty of sunlight,
- Seal your windows,
- Dust the plants,
- Use a humidifier,
- Don’t fertilize,
- Turn the heat up during the day,
- Inspect your plants for bugs,
- Prune as Needed.
It happens every year, right around the end of December: Your houseplants start to droop, lose their leaves, or fade from green to yellow. You might give your plants a hefty dose or water or experiment with a change in location only to see symptoms persist. Read on to learn more about how to care for your houseplants in the winter.
Water Less Often
You may be tempted to water your houseplants more often due to the dry winter air, but overwatering is actually one of the worst things you can do to your plants in winter. Cut back on how frequently you water plants in the winter. As a general rule, aim to give your plants half the amount of water in the winter that you would give them during spring or summer.
If your houseplants have yellow leaves in winter, it’s usually a sign of overwatering. A good rule of thumb is to wait to water until your plants look thirsty (think droopy, dehydrated leaves).
Give Plants Light and Sun
Short winter days mean your plants receive less natural light than they otherwise would. As a best practice, you should place your plants by the window. East facing windows work well, because they are flooded with sunlight in the morning.
Give sun seekers – like succulents – a prime sunny location, while placing partial sun plants where they will receive indirect light. If you can’t put your plants near a sunny window, you can try an LED plant light to provide your plants with more nourishment all winter.
If your windows don’t have a tight seal, chilly winter air will leak in. This can be devastating for tropical plants, and other varieties which are sensitive to frost.
If you’re not sure whether your windows have a good seal, place your hand in front of a window. If you can feel cold air flowing in, then you’ve got drafts.
You can use weatherstripping or plastic window sealing kits to seal drafty windows. If this isn’t possible, simply move plants further away from them for the season.
Remove Dust from Plants
Dust can collect on plant leaves year round. Come winter, that dust can actually block plants from soaking up sunlight. Use a damp paper towel to wipe dust off plant leaves or, the next time your plants need watering, put them in the shower to wash off the dust naturally.
Use a Humidifier or Mist Your Plants
You know how your skin feels rough and chapped in the winter? Your plants feel similarly dehydrated. A humidifier will not only help sooth your dry skin but promote plant health by adding moisture to the air. Use a room humidifier to add moisture to the home or mist plants regularly with a spray bottle.
Resist the Urge to Fertilize
Many plants go dormant to make it through the long winter. These plants may seem to stop growing. It can be tempting to fertilize plants and encourage growth, but this will backfire when plants are dormant. Rather than fertilize in the winter, wait to feed them until their natural growth cycle restarts in the spring.
Keep Your Home Warm During the Day
It may seem like common sense to suggest heating your home in the winter months, but did you know that heating also benefits your houseplants? In their natural environment, plants are exposed to warm, sunny days and cool temperatures at night. You can mimic this in winter months by raising the heat during the day and turning it down at night.
Inspect Your Plants Weekly for Pests
Houseplants may be more susceptible to small bugs, like fungus gnats, in the winter. The best defense is a good offense: regular inspections and prompt treatment. If you can, check your houseplants once a week. If you see small black bugs on plants, you have gnats. To treat the problem and you will have to get the bugs out of your home; this can be accomplished by setting up simple vinegar traps. The bugs are drawn to the sweet and sour smell of vinegar and will drown when caught in the trap.
Prune as Needed
While you should not repot plants in winter, you can prune away dead growth. So, snip back those yellowed or dead leaves to keep your plants looking tidy all through the winter.
With these tips, you can help your plants make it through winter and get back to vibrant growth as soon as spring blossoms.
Learn More about Plant Care
At Dietz Floral Studio, we think that plants make our lives brighter, every day. That’s why we enjoy passing our knowledge of plant and flower care on to others. Look at our schedule of fun floral design workshops that will be going on over the next few months.