As we retreat into our cozy homes for winter, the houseplants that thrive on the same summer sunshine most of them also retreat into their own dormancy. Just as we require different care in different seasons of our lives, so too might plants need a little shift in care routines. Here are a few tips to keep your plants happy and healthy during the winter season:
Water Less Frequently
As your plant goes into dormancy, you’re going to see a lot less new growth or at least a much slower growth. With less sunshine, they just simply aren’t using the same amount of water and energy they were using in the summertime. This is a really easy time to overwater your plant! Be sure to feel your plant’s soil before giving them water, as it will take them a little longer to dry out. Dip your finger into the first couple of inches of their soil - if it feels moist, give it a few more days before checking again.
Be Aware of Changing Sunlight Patterns
With the sun sinking low behind the horizon at a faster rate, your houseplants are receiving a weaker and shorter day than they previously were. Many spots in your house may not receive an adequate amount of light anymore. Consider moving your plants to a new place in your home, or adding in supplemental lighting. Even dusting your plants’ leaves can make it easier for plants to absorb light.
Keep Plants Away from Drafts or Extreme Heat
Most houseplants are tropical in origin, meaning they like it warm and humid. When they’re placed by a door that gets opened a lot during the winter, they may not respond with excitement. Try moving your plants to a warmer place in your home, but watch out for heat registers that may dry your plants out too quickly.
Consider a Humidifier
Liking it warm and humid means most houseplants won’t care for the lack of humidity in winter air. Bathrooms are a great place for humidity. You can also try placing a tray of pebbles under your plant, adding water to the top of the pebbles. This can help create a moist environment around your plant without investing in a humidifier. If you do decide to invest in one, you may find it helping more plants than one.
Save Fertilizing and Repotting for Spring
Dormancy is a normal cycle in a plant's seasonal life. Let it rest and adjust, and it’ll let you know when it's ready to start growing again.
Watch for Pests
Especially if you’ve moved any plants indoors this winter, it's possible that a few pests hopped onto your plant outdoors during the summer. Pests such as spider mites and soil gnats may be prevalent during the winter.
You can try placing a yellow sticky card in the pot with your plant and keep an eye out for pin-prick spotting on the top and undersides of the leaves. Neem oil is also a a great way to prevent and treat any pests that may have inhabited your plants.
With a little change in your plant care routine, your plants can continue to thrive. However, even if you do everything right, it’s possible your plant may drop a few leaves as they adjust to their new lighting and environments. Each plant is different and may require different levels of light, water, and humidity than others in your collection. So don’t fret and enjoy this season indoors surrounded by your houseplant friends!