As we bring our houseplants inside out of the cold and fill our homes up with greenery again, it’s important we give them the proper care. As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, your plant care routine in winter and the colder months of fall may need to be adjusted to help them thrive.
General Care Guidelines for Plant Care in Winter
Here are a few tips for indoor plant care in the colder months:
Water Less Often
During the winter, plants don’t need as much water because they are not growing as actively. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make with houseplants, especially during the winter. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to water your plants every 7-10 days during the winter, or when the top inch of soil is dry.
Provide More Light
During the winter, plants receive less sunlight. To compensate for this, move your plants to a brighter spot, such as a south- or west-facing window. If you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home, you can use a grow light to supplement the sunlight.
Plants are sensitive to drafts, so keep them away from cold windows, doors, and air vents. Drafts can cause plants to drop their leaves and become stressed.
The air in our homes can get very dry during the winter, which can damage plants. To help increase the humidity around your plants, mist them regularly with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water. You can also group your plants together to create a more humid microclimate.
Fertilize Less Often
Plants don’t need as much fertilizer during the winter when they are not growing as actively. Reduce your fertilizing schedule to once a month during the winter, or even less often for some plants.
Check for Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases can be a problem for houseplants any time of year, but they are especially common during the winter when plants are stressed. Inspect your plants regularly for pests and diseases, and treat them immediately if you find any.
Plants that May Go Dormant
There are some plants that may go dormant during colder months. If you live in a warm climate, you may be able avoid this and keep your plants growing. However, it’s important to reduce watering and provide less light during this time.
It’s important to note that not all plants will go dormant at the same time. Some plants may start to go dormant as early as September, while others may wait until November or December. It is also important to note that the dormancy period can vary in length depending on the plant species and the growing conditions.
Popular Indoor Plants that May go Dormant
- Canna Lilly
Signs of Dormancy
Here are some signs that your indoor plant is going dormant:
- It stops growing.
- It loses leaves.
- The leaves turn yellow or brown.
- The stems become thinner and weaker.
If you see any of these signs, don’t be alarmed. It’s just your houseplant is getting ready for winter. Just follow the tips above to help it through this period of dormancy.
Additional Plant Care Tips in Colder Months
Here are some additional tips for taking care of specific types of houseplants during the winter:
- Succulents and cacti: Succulents and cacti are very drought-tolerant, so you can water them even less often during the winter. Be sure to place them in a bright spot, and avoid overwatering.
- Tropical plants: Tropical plants need more warmth and humidity than other types of houseplants. Keep them away from drafts, and mist them regularly. You may also want to use a humidifier to increase the humidity around your tropical plants.
- Flowering plants: Flowering plants typically need more fertilizer than other types of houseplants. Continue to fertilize them once a month during the winter, or even more often if they are still blooming.
By following these tips, you can help your houseplants thrive during the colder months of winter and fall.