Some might think that keeping indoor plants alive throughout the fall and winter is a piece of cake. They might not realize that things need to change a little bit to keep the plants healthy and alive. The truth is that there are some tricks to doing a good job at it. The problem is not that it is too cold, but perhaps that there is too much dry air inside the home. When the temperatures rise outside, people tend to crank up their thermostats, providing more dry air inside the home. Houseplants cannot survive very well in such an environment without a little help. The following tips will help you to keep your houseplants alive this winter.
- Keep Them Misted. Indoor plants can really benefit from a misting at least once per day during the fall and winter. Once is the minimum, as they could actually use at least three mists each day. Especially if you have tropical houseplants, they need the humidity to survive the winter. Simply purchase a spray bottle from a local nursery, grocery store, or even a dollar store. Make sure to mark it as “water only” so that you do not accidentally spray something on your plants that would be to their detriment. Mist the plants a few times each day. If you have an indoor water feature, it could also benefit the plant to be near the feature so that it can mooch off the humidity that the water feature provides.
- Dust The Leaves. Although it might seem like a silly cleaning routine, your plants should be dusted often. Perhaps when you go through the house and dust the furniture, you could make sure to include the plants as well. When the dust builds up, it clogs the pores of the leaves, making it hard for them to breathe. Using a damp cloth will not only remove the dust, but will also give the leaves a nice shine.
- Keep Them In The Light. You may have positioned your houseplants in a certain spot during the summer months because of the amount of sunlight that hit that area of the room. Remember that during the fall and winter, the direction of the sun changes and the plants might not be getting as much direct sunlight as they need to survive. Simply look for an area in your home or an angle by the window where the plants will receive more light. You might have to move them back and forth from one side of the house to the next, but if you want to save your plants, it is probably worth the fuss. Also, rotate your plants every few days so that each side of the plant will receive the same amount of light.
- Withhold Fertilizer. You probably have a plant fertilizing routine during the spring and summer. However, during the fall and winter your plants will slow down in their growth process. This means that you should hold off on the fertilizer until the spring when the plants are ready to start growing again.
- Don’t Repot. If you have wanted to repot your indoor plants, it is better to wait until the spring or summer. When you repot a plant, it starts to stimulate the growth again. During the winter, plants are not ready for this, as their growth process is slowing down. Hold off until spring and then you will get the new growth that you want.
- Hold Off On Watering. Of course your plants will need water during the fall and winter, but they will not need nearly as much as they did during the spring and summer. Again, this is because their growth process has slowed and they don’t need the same amount of water to keep them healthy. If you had a watering schedule, you might want to just stop it all together. Your new schedule could simply be to check the soil and see if it is dry. If it is, give the plant some water. If it is still damp, even if the last time you watered was a week ago, do not water the plant again.
Keeping your indoor plants alive during the winter is not really a hard task to accomplish, but it does take a little knowledge and a little work. The payoff will be worth it though, so be sure and get it done.
Lauren Hill is a contributing author for The Growers Exchange, a gardening company offering potted plants and accessories online and shipping them directly to your home.