Conditions can change quite substantially for our houseplants during the winter months. Our winter sun is weak if it shines at all! And our homes are cooler and drier than in summer. Plant growth slows and that's okay - it's important to resist over-nurturing your plants. Here's the first in a series of articles to help you get your green "babies" through the winter.
Let your plants dry out a bit more. You'll find they don't dry out as quickly with the lower light levels, unless you keep your home very warm. Always test the soil with your finger beforehand to avoid over-watering which can lead to root rot.
Most houseplants prefer more humidity which is in short supply in winter when the heat is on. You can create extra humidity by placing plant pots in a tray on of pebbles and water: as the water evaporates it creates humidity. Just make sure that the water level is lower than the pebbles, so as the plants don’t soak up extra moisture and develop root rot.
Feeding your plants
Fertilizing really isn’t recommended during the winter months unless you are caring for flowering plants. Plants get most of their nutrients from photosynthesis, so position your them near south and/or west facing windows where the natural light is brightest or supplement with artificial grow lights which are readily available these days. Rotate your plants once a week if the growth begins to lean towards the light. Winter is also not the recommended time to repot - wait until spring.
Leaf drop can be normal with some plants due to the lack of light in winter but can also be a result of cold drafts. Ideal temperatures should be 65 to 75 degrees and keep them away from the door or heat vents.
Lastly, our homes tend to be dustier during the winter, so I encourage you to wipe them lightly with a soft damp cloth or use a leaf shine product. Clean shiny leaves look so great and also promotes photosynthesis.
Watch for more great indoor plant info in coming newsletters: our next issue on Jan. 28 will help with those uninvited pests that find their way to our indoor plants!