All plants have different watering requirements, but did you know that they have different watering requirements throughout the different seasons? So, how often to water houseplants in winter, I hear you cry? Well, we’re here to help you work this out!
What You'll Learn Today
How Often To Water Houseplants In Winter?
As plant owners, we want to look after our babies, and this includes keeping them well watered, right?
Well, yes, but this kindness can actually turn to cruelty in the winter when plants really don’t appreciate too much water!
- In winter, most plants go relatively dormant – and house plants, despite being indoors, are no exception.
- Dormant plants need considerably less water, as they are not using as much, so you should reduce your watering during the winter.
- Ideally, you should reduce your watering to around once a fortnight in the winter, when your plants are “sleeping”.
- You can leave this even longer for some plants; up to three weeks is often fine for some types of houseplants.
- Cactuses and succulents can go even longer without a drink – these desert dwellers can go nearly the whole winter without water and still be fine.
- Obviously, check the soil once in a while, and if it is bone dry then you should give your plants a drink!
- As well as occasional watering, your plants may benefit from a little light misting with a spray bottle.
- The humidity in a house is generally much less than outdoors, so your plants may suffer from a lack of humidity – misting will add some much needed moisture.
- You don’t have to do this too often; once a week should be plenty. This will also keep the dust on the leaves down!
Should Indoor Houseplants Be Watered More In Winter?
The answer to this question is a very resounding No, no they should not! In fact, watering much less often is the best thing you can do for your houseplants.
Although we are always told that plants cannot survive without water, we can actually be doing them some inadvertent damage if we over water in the winter.
You should definitely water your houseplants less in the winter; every couple of weeks should be plenty.
If you water your plants too much you risk a lot of problems, such as:
- Root rot. If the plant’s roots sit in water, they can rot and wither away, killing the entire plant.
- Moldy compost. Water can stagnate in the soil if the plant is not using it, bringing the possibility of mold and bacteria in the soil.
- Weak growth. Your plant will still try its best to grow, but overwatering in winter can cause weak, soft growth that will not benefit the plant.
- Parasites. When a plant is weak and stressed, it is far more susceptible to infestation from bugs and pests.
Although it may seem counter intuitive, the best thing you can do for your indoor plants in winter is to water them much less.
You aren’t neglecting them; in fact you will be helping them out loads if you water them less often!
In this video you can find some additional tips:
How Long Can Houseplants Go Without Water In Winter?
How long your plants can go without water will depend entirely on what type of plant it is – as you already know, they all have different watering requirements.
Fully grown house plants of the tropical type can go up to 2-3 weeks without water in the winter.
Cactuses and succulents can last up to 3 months without water in the winter. That’s one less thing to remember to do!
The best thing to do is to check the soil – if it is bone dry then it is worth giving your plant a drink, even if 3 weeks are not up.
Giving your indoor plants too much water will cause them as many, if not more, problems than not enough water will cause.
Excessive watering can rot the roots, and can also make the plant show spindly, weak growth of leaves and stems.
You may also notice a lot more leaf dropping, as the stressed plant tries to save its energy – do it a favour and hold off on the water!
Why Are My Indoor Plants Dying In Winter?
There are a lot of reasons why your plants may not be surviving the colder months – and it turns out that there’s quite a lot you can do to help them!
- Overwatering. Too much water, especially in winter, can seriously damage and even kill your beloved houseplants.
- Not enough warmth. Most indoor plants like to be on the warmer side, so if your house gets very cold in winter then you should consider some way of keeping them warmer.
- Inadequate light. All plants need light to survive, so try to make sure your houseplants get enough sunlight.
- Dry air. Houses are generally far less humid than outdoors, and some plants react very badly to getting too dry.
- Dust. If a plant’s leaves get too covered with dust then they will not be able to photosynthesis. Give them a wipe with a damp cloth once in a while.
- Pests. Indoor plants are far more susceptible to infestations, due to the lack of wind and predators who eat said pests. Keep an eye on the soil; you can soak the whole pot in warm water for 15 minutes to remove creepy crawlies.
In general, the biggest killer of indoor plants in winter is too much watering. Hold yourself back from that watering can!
Once a fortnight is more than plenty of watering for your indoor houseplants – and more frequently and you could end up with big problems.
Overwatering is as much of a problem as under watering, as hopefully you haven’t had to find out!
Now that you know a little more about the water needs of different plants in different seasons, you will never have to deal with rotted roots again