How To Take Care Of Your Houseplants In The Winter
Winter is probably the most challenging time of the year to keep your plants alive. Low light levels, dry air, and chilly temperatures can put indoor plants through the paces. The secret is adjusting your care routine to suit the new weather conditions.
Provide Enough Light
During the winter, your house inevitably gets darker, and it's not easy to provide an adequate amount of light to your plants.
Make sure to place your plants close enough to the source of light. Clean your window to allow maximum light transmission, or move them to a new location that receives more light. Houseplants that usually grow near an Eastern or Northern window may need a Southern or Western exposure.
You can also consider adding some artificial lighting if your home gets too dark. Fluorescent bulbs can provide adequate light: position them 4-12 inches away from your plants.
Check The Temperature Around The Plant
Most houseplants prefer temperatures between 65-75 °F during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night, while temperatures below 50 °F can cause problems. For example, Crispy Wave's leaves can be damaged by cold temperatures.
Also, plants suffer cold and hot drafts – pay attention to the position you choose. Keep them several inches away from drafty windows, heat sources, and front doors, and don't leave them in unheated porches or garages.
Change The Watering Schedule
The majority of plants go dormant from October to February, and this changes the amount of water they need.
You can choose to wait longer between waterings or reduce the amount of water: try different solutions and see what works best.
Raise The Humidity Levels
During the cold season, the air of your home tends to get drier because of heaters, while most plants prefer humid conditions.
You can also decide to group your plants together: it will raise the humidity level around all of them.
Don't Fertilize The Plant Unless Necessary
In the winter, your plants do everything at a slower pace, and most of them go dormant.
For this reason, they will require less or no fertilizer at all. For example, Crispy Wave requires fertilizer from April to September only.
Observe your plants carefully to understand if they need food. Generally, if you live in a mild climate, you can continue to fertilize your plants by cutting the doses in half. In coldest climates, where natural light levels are low, feeding is not necessary.
Be sure not to overfeed – it could burn the roots.
Remove Dead Leaves
It's common for plants to lose some of their leaves in the winter – that's their way to adjust to the season change.
If you see any leaves getting yellow or brown, pinch them off: it can prevent further leaf loss and encourage new growth.
Remember that most houseplants grow slower in the winter – don't worry if it looks like your plant has suddenly stopped its growth.
Wipe The Leaves
During the winter, dust and indoor pollution tend to increase because of closed windows and end up affecting your plants. Leaves may receive a reduced amount of light when covered with dust, and since days are shorter, they must get as much light as possible.
Every two weeks, wet a soft cloth with a solution of half lemon squeezed into some water, and gently wipe the leaves. While cleaning every leaf, support it with your hand to make sure you don’t bend or break it.
Pay Attention To Pests
Pest infestations are more common in the winter: ideally, you want to inspect your plants every time you water.
Gnats usually nest underneath the leaves and along the stem.
If you find any bugs, act promptly, and apply some organic Neem Oil on the plant. The treatment may take up to 7-10 days.
It's better not to repot your plants during the winter unless it's absolutely necessary.
Wait for late winter or early spring: with warmer weather and longer daylight hours, your plant's roots will expand better.
Taking care of your plants during the cold season requires special attention, but it's worth it. Dedicating your time to your indoor garden will give you the joy and calm you need, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.