As the days get shorter and colder, you may notice changes happening to your house plants. Even though they’re being kept warm by your home, the needs of your green, leafy friends do change with the seasons. Some plants go dormant while others begin growing with renewed vigor.
The best advice we could give you is to identify the type of plant you have and research what its needs are during each season. But there are some general guidelines you can follow to keep your plants happy and healthy during the shorter days of the year.
Water a little less
With most house plants going dormant during the winter months, water becomes a bit less necessary. Start spreading out your waterings by a few extra days, but keep an eye on how your plant reacts. If it seems to dislike less water, resume your normal watering schedule.
Keep humidity up
Most plants need some amount of humidity to thrive, but our homes become much drier places when the heat is turned on in the winter. You don’t need a fancy, electric humidifier to keep your plants happy though. Even just a tray of water places below the plants is adequate. As the water evaporates, the air around your plants will be humidified.
Give your plants a bath
Things in your home can be quite a bit dustier during the winter months, especially if your ductwork isn’t regularly cleaned. Dust on your plants isn’t the end of the world, but if enough builds up, it can start causing your plants harm. Give your plants the occasional bath in the sink along with a thorough watering. Clearing the dust will help keep your plants happy all winter long!
Find the sunniest spot
Shade plants need not apply, but if you have plants that enjoy a little bit of sunlight, do your best to find the sunniest spot in the house for them. Be mindful of how the sun changes position in the sky during winter and adjust accordingly!
Wait on fertilizer
When you see your plants start to slow down, it’s easy to think the issue is that they’re not getting the nutrients they need. But chances are, they’re just going dormant during the colder, darker months. You don’t need to provide fertilizer at this time! It’s best to wait until spring or summer.
Warm things up a bit
Many indoor plants have origins in the tropics, meaning they like their climate to be warm and wet. Most houseplants will tolerate a cooler home in the winter, but consider keeping them in a room that you can heat up an extra few degrees. This will help keep your plants happy through winter.
Watch out for bugs
If you’re much of a gardener, you know just how much bugs can harm your plants, indoors or outdoors. While there are few to no insects outside during the winter, that doesn’t mean they’ve all gone away. Many actually seek refuge in our warm, dry homes! For that reason, keep an eye on your plants to make sure that no bugs are causing them any harm.
For most plants, their dormancy period is the best time to prune them back a bit. Removing older, dead leaves that aren’t getting much sunlight can help your plant conserve energy for its newer, healthier leaves.
Watch for disease
Winter months can leave your plants weaker than other times of the year. This makes it more challenging for them to fend off disease. Keep an eye on any yellow or brown spots that might be developing on your plants’ leaves. Also beware of mold growing in overly damp soil.
For most plants, winter is not an ideal time to transplant. Transplanting can cause a shock to your plant’s system, making them less likely to survive disease, pests, or other problems that may arise during winter. Wait until spring and summer have returned before transplanting your leafy friends.