During winter, houseplants are often affected by temperature changes, limited sunlight, shorter days, and dry air. With this in mind, it’s important to modify how you care for your houseplants during this time of the year.
How to keep your houseplants thriving during winter:
Water less. During winter, plants experience slower growth. Since it is less sunny during winter and soil doesn’t dry as quickly as it does during other seasons, plants require less water. That being said, stick your finger a couple inches deep in the soil, and only water if the soil below the surface is dry. Avoid overwatering to ensure root rot does not occur. It’s also best to use room temperature water to avoid hurting the plant’s roots or shocking the plant.
Avoid fertilizing. Since your houseplants are growing at a slow pace during winter, they do not need any fertilizer. It’s best to wait until spring growing season to start fertilizing again.
Find spots with sunlight. Since there are fewer hours of sunlight during the daytime in the winter, you may have to move your plants near south- or west-facing windows and spaces that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Rotate your plant after watering so each side of the plant receives sunlight, allowing the plant to evenly grow. You can also use growing lights to help increase light exposure.
Relocate plants during freezing cold nights. If temperatures drop rapidly at night and windows begin to frost, plants next to windows may start to freeze. It’s important to move your plants to prevent the cold air from harming plants.
Increase humidity levels. During winter, humidity levels inside a home can fall to 10-20%. Since houseplants typically prefer around 50% humidity, you will need to increase moisture and humidity levels. You can do so by using a humidifier, misting often, raising plant pots on stones in a tray of water, or grouping similar plants together since plants naturally release water from their leaves through transpiration.
Avoid heat and drafts. Heat from ovens, radiators, or fireplaces in addition to drafts and breezes from cracked open windows or AC units and other fluctuating temperatures can harm your plants. Make sure to keep your plant environment at a consistent temperature between 60 and 75 degrees fahrenheit.
Don’t re-pot. It is best to wait until spring season once growth starts to pick up again to re-pot.
Keep an eye out for pests. Houseplants are still prone to pests during winter, especially plants near windows. If you spot pests, isolate the plant to avoid spreading the pests to other plants and take action right away. You can use a mixture of natural dish soap and water to spray your plant regularly until the issue is resolved.
Dust your house, dust your plants. During winter, dust sometimes builds up inside homes. This means you should regularly brush off the leaves of your plants lightly to remove any dust. This is important since dusty leaves can prevent your plants from absorbing enough sunlight and can also lead to disease.
Clean potted plants if bringing inside from the outdoors. Make sure to check for pests. You can carefully wash or hose off your plants to clean them. You should also evenly trim plant leaves when moving potted plants indoors.
Use these tips to ensure your plants survive the chilly winter season! Read Growing Tips: An Herb & Veggie-filled Winter Wonderland to learn how to grow indoor herbs and veggies during winter!