Winter is a quiet season for houseplants. The days are short, cold, and dark which are not ideal conditions for growth! Growth slows, or stops completely, and a lot of indoor plants go dormant through the cold season. This dormancy might look like decreased or no growth at all and the plant dropping old leaves and dying back. This is the plant's way of conserving energy to ensure it's survival during this time of year.
Winter can be difficult for plant parents, as our care routine needs to change (sometimes drastically!) to adjust for these non-ideal conditions. The good news is, winter plant care doesn't need to be difficult, and generally is less intensive than care during the growing season! These 5 tips will help you keep your plant happy during this cold season and ensure they come out happy and healthy, ready to grow come spring!
Adjust Your Watering Schedule
It is very important during the winter to adjust your watering schedule or routine. Most plants aren't actively growing, and less growth means your plant needs less water. Overwatering in winter can quickly lead to root rot and should be avoided at all costs! Make sure to check your plant's soil (you can use a wooden chopstick, moisture meter, or even your finger) and watch for signs that your plant needs water before you water it. Keep an eye out for drooping, wilting, and faded colors as good signs that your plant needs water!
All plants are different, and the amount of water they need is largely based on their growing conditions. You might find that your plants water needs don't change, or you might be watering half as often as the warmer parts of the year.
Provide Additional Light
It's no secret that many plant parents struggle to provide enough light for their plants, especially in the winter when the days are short and the sky is cloudy. If you find that your windows just aren't providing enough light, consider adding an additional light source! This can be a plant-specific grow light, or a normal lamp with a full spectrum light bulb. Be sure to leave the light on for an extended period during the day and turn it off at night, as most plants rely on a dark period during the nighttime to rest and regenerate.
Some signs that your plant wants more light are leggy growth, stretching towards the light source, one-sided growth, and small leaves. Giving additional light will allow your plant to maintain it's current growth as well as gather energy for increased, healthy growth!
Maintain and Increase Humidity
A lot of indoor plants originate from tropical areas of the world, such as rainforests, which naturally have high humidity! You want to replicate this as best you can for your houseplants to thrive indoors. During the cold months of the year, the air is naturally less humid than the warm summer air, so it is important to supplement the humidity levels in your home. Additionally, heaters and furnaces suck humidity out of the air, leaving your plants high and dry. The best way to increase humidity is to run a humidifier near your plants! This will provide a consistent stream of moisture into the air.
We recommend running a humidifier for a few hours each morning to give your plants a boost for the day! You can also group plants together with pebble trays, which provide humidity as the water evaporates.
Keep From Drafts & Heaters
Maintaining a consistent temperature for your plant is just as important as your light and water schedules. Most houseplants enjoy temperatures between 60 and 75F. Things like drafty windows or heating vents blowing on the plant can cause all sorts of problems. Even as little as a blast of cold air from opening a door can cause cold damage to delicate plants, so make sure your plants are protected from drafts or cold windowpanes. Additionally, being near heating vents or space heaters can disrupt the plant's ability to regulate itself and can lead to excessive drying and damage from too high of temperatures. We recommend finding a spot in your home where the temperature stays consistent throughout the day! This will reduce the stress on your plant to self-regulate and instead allow it to save energy for growth.
Monitor for Bugs
Winter can provide a prime environment for bugs and pests to breed! We don't like having pests in our space, and neither do your plants. Maintain a close eye on your plants to prevent possible infestations, and treat any signs of bugs as soon as you see them. While some pests, like fungus gnats, are not overly dangerous for the plant, they will be annoying to you! Take steps to prevent any pest infestations by treating your plant with neem oil or preventative insecticidal soap, keeping the leaves clean, and ensuring the plant does not sit in damp soil which is a breeding ground for flying insects.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
It is normal and natural for plants to drop a few leaves in winter - don't freak out! This is the plant's way of conserving it's energy and getting rid of old leaves it no longer needs.
Avoid using fertilizer in winter as this can cause root damage. You can begin fertilizing once you see growth starting again in spring.
Our care guidelines are only tips and suggestions - each plant is unique and will require unique care! Only you know your plants, so use the tips that work for you and leave the ones that don't.
Give your plants the support they need during winter and you'll be rewarded with abundant growth come spring!
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