Not many plants enjoy the winter – the colder temperatures, the wild weather, the hard frosts – and houseplants are no exception. If you are keeping your plants indoors you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the cold – but how to care for houseplants in winter should be high on your priority list.
Keeping them warm, safe and protected from the weather is the best way to keep your plants safe and healthy, and they will reward you with good growth.
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How To Care For Houseplants In Winter?
Caring for houseplants during the winter is similar to their care in the summer – ie they will still need water, light and warmth – but there are a few key differences:
- Plants need much less water. Overwatering, especially in the winter, can cause your houseplants major health problems.
- They need to be warm. All plants need warmth, especially the tropical types of houseplant, so ensure they have a good heat source.
- Make sure they have light. Indoor plants need sunlight as much as outdoor ones, so ensure they have access to natural light from outside.
- They may get infested. Indoor conditions are perfect for keeping bugs and pests happy and healthy, so you may find you have to check your plants more often.
- Leaves will need cleaning. Dust is not a problem for outdoor plants, but it can be for the indoor ones! Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth every now and then.
- Indoor plants still need light. Keeping them close to windows where natural light enters is a good idea, as is rotating the plants so they get light on all sides.
- Don’t worry if a few leaves drop off. There’s no need to panic if your plant has been outside and come in shedding leaves! It’s just getting used to the changes.
- Hold off on fertilizing. Plants don’t need as much support in the winter, as they are not doing so much growing. Once during the whole winter is fine.
- Consider adding humidity. Houses tend to be much drier than the outdoors, so your plants will enjoy a little misting from time to time.
How Do I Keep My Indoor Plants Alive During Winter?
Keeping houseplants alive in the winter can be trickier than doing so in the summer, for obvious reasons – it is colder, there is less sunlight and the plants tend to stop growing.
However, you can easily keep your plants alive indoors, as long as you follow a few simple rules and hints:
- Give them as much natural light as possible. All plants need light, and those indoors are no exception.
- Keep them warm. Houseplants especially need to be kept warm in order to thrive, so ensure your plants are not getting too chilly.
- Don’t over water. Your plants won’t drink as much during the winter, and overwatering can cause big issues, so limit their water intake.
- Keep an eye out for infestations. Bugs and pests can strike your plants at any time and in any place, so make sure they are clear.
- Deadhead where necessary. Plants will often shed leaves in the winter as they are saving energy – make sure you remove these so as to stop any rot or mold developing.
- Repot where necessary. Repotting in winter is a good strategy, as the plants will be more dormant and more able to cope with the transition.
- Fertilize before the spring. Giving your plants a good dose of nutrients will help to set them up well for when the time of new growth is upon them.
Where Should I Store My Houseplants For The Winter?
Your houseplants will need to be kept warm. You can either keep them in the warmest room in the house, or get special plant heaters such as:
- Heat mats. The plant simply sits on the little plug-in pad that will warm the pot and the soil. They are inexpensive and widely available.
- Heat lamps. Keeping your plant under a heat lamp for a few hours a day is a great way to give them a little extra TLC.
Your plants also need light. No plant can survive or flourish without sunlight, so they will need as much natural light as possible. Try:
- Keeping them next to windows. This will give them natural light – just be careful that the leaves don’t touch the cold windows!
- Using a grow lamp. These special lamps are designed to mimic the sun’s rays and give your plant the best chance.
- Your plants can be stored on top of white good such as refrigerators, as a simple and cheap way to keep them warm.
As long as your plants are warm, not given too much water, and given access to sunlight, they should thrive indoors, even over winter.
Should I Fertilize Indoor Plants In Winter?
Fertilizing your indoor plants in the winter months is actually a good idea – it won’t make them grow suddenly, but it will help them.
Fertilizing your plants will give them a good burst of nutrients so they can start the growing season in as best a state as they can.
You probably won’t find that your plants suddenly shoot up with new growth when fertilized in winter, but it will indeed help them.
Getting ready for the growing season when they already have all the nutrients they need is the best way to support your new growth.
Don’t go overboard with it – one fertilizing during the winter should be plenty to keep your plants healthy and happy.
A good, all round general purpose fertilizer is the best bet; bonus points if you can find an organic one too!
Caring for houseplants in the winter is not too much of a difficult task, and as long as you keep an eye on them – and the temperature in your house – they should be fine!