Seasonal Care: Fall

As the seasons change, so too do your plant’s needs. Indoor plants are affected by outdoor changes. In this article, we’re talking about all things fall and how you should care for your plants when the temperatures cool down.

Seasonal Care: Fall

Words by The Sill

Plants 101 Next Article
As the seasons change, so too do your plant’s needs. Indoor plants are affected by outdoor changes. In this article, we’re talking about all things fall and how you should care for your plants when the temperatures cool down.
Warm Days, Chilly Nights

The temperature changes in fall can be dramatic from day to night. If we’re reaching for moisturizer and an extra layer, you can bet your plant needs a little extra care too. Modifying light, waterings, and bringing plants indoors will make the transition in a transitional season as smooth as possible.

Bring Plants Indoors

If you moved any of your plants outside for the spring or summer, it’s time to bring them back indoors. Best to do this before it dips below 55 degrees F at night. Check your plants for pests they might have picked up outside. We suggest giving your plants a shower with a garden hose if you have one, and once dry spraying leaves with diluted neem or hort oil before bringing them inside. If a plant didn’t exactly survive the season, it’s OK to let go. There are plenty of other plants looking for a home.

Keep Light Levels Up

Pay close attention to the light your plants are getting. In fall, the days are shorter and the angle of the sun is changing. Some of your indoor plants might need to sit in a new place to get the same amount of sunlight they did spring and summer. You might want to group your succulents together on the windowsill rather than on your coffee table for example. Rotating your plants once a week helps to ensure all sides are covered and your plant won’t lean one way or another.

If a plant didn’t exactly survive the season, it’s OK to let go. There are plenty of other plants looking for a home.

Water Less Often

In colder months, plants should be watered less often than in warmer seasons because they are getting less light and growing more slowly. Generally, wait a few days in between waterings in winter, unless your apartment is really dry — then your plants may need more water.

A snake plant, for example might need watering every 6 weeks in the fall, compared to every 3 weeks in the summer. Check the soil and make sure it’s completely dry before watering again.

Increase the Humidity

The air indoors is going to be much drier, so if you’re watering less, you want to invest in a humidifier and increase the humidity levels. Many common houseplants prefer a humid environment. Plus, humidifiers are great for the air we breathe and good for our skin too. Group like-plants together to increase humidity —  plants are really good at self care and like-plants are good at caring for each other. Avoid any extreme changes in temperature; don’t put your plants near or on top of the radiator, and places like next to a front door that opens frequently. Sudden hot and cold drafts can stress plants out.

Group like-plants together to increase humidity—plants are really good at self care and like-plants are good at caring for each other.

Forgo Fertilizer

Foliage growth slows down considerably during the fall and winter months, so you can withhold from using any fertilizer until next spring; the start of the growth season. Give your houseplants the essentials (light and water) to sustain them through winter, but don’t fuss over them or kill them with kindness.

Foliage Dieback

When bringing houseplants from the great outdoors to your living room — or bedroom or bathroom or kitchen — they may begin to drop their leaves. This is perfectly normal, as they are adjusting to the lower light levels of being indoors. Pro Tip: Give your plants a hand by pulling off a few leaves to help them retain lush and bushy foliage, especially where you want them to be lush and bushy.

Last Call to Repot

Did your plant grow in the spring and summer? Chances are, they did. If your plant needs a bigger planter, now is a good time to repot. For more on repotting properly, read our Repotting article.

Get Creative

Fall is a great time to tap your inner interior designer. Always dreamed of installing floating shelves, hanging baskets or ceiling hooks? Now is the time. Make sure your DIY project can hold your houseplant after a thorough watering, which will make them even heavier. Trailing houseplants, like pothos and philodendrons, will be glad you did.

Be proactive and get ready for Seasonal Care: Winter.

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