As the seasons change, so do your plant’s needs. Indoor plants are affected by outdoor changes. In this article, we’re talking about all things winter and how you should care for your plants when the temperature dips below freezing.
If it feels like we rarely see the sun in the winter, that’s because it sets earlier, is lower in the sky, and often covered with clouds. Make sure your houseplants are getting enough light during this time. If plants are leaning towards their light source, the window, gradually rotate them every few days to help them straighten out. If plants have spindly new growth, move them closer to the sunlight.
Add Artificial Light
You can use any fixture, floor, or desk lamp and place it about 1-3 feet away from your plant. CFL bulbs are great – however LED bulbs can also be a viable option since these are energy efficient and produce less heat. Or consider some stylish supplemental lighting made particularly for houseplants during these darker days.
Mind the Draft
An extreme temperature flux or cold draft can cause indoor plants, used to somewhat stable conditions, to stress out. Keep your plants away from open windows and front doors, as well as heating units and radiators (which can quickly dry them out). Some plants like the Fiddle Leaf Fig are more sensitive to cold than others. Remember if you’re feeling the chill, chances are, your plant is too.
Feel sleepy in winter? Plants do too. That’s thanks to shorter days and less sun. Tropical plants will go into a state of dormancy from October to February. Since plants only take up water based on the amount of light they receive, this will change how much you water your plants. Keep soil on the drier side, as soaked soil can lead to rot. Either wait longer between waterings or reduce the amount of water.
Dust It Off
Closed windows during the winter increases dust and indoor pollution. Dust and dirt build-up can reduce the amount of light getting to your plant and, considering how short the days are, it’s important they get as much light as possible. Gently dust off leaves bi-weekly. For extreme build-up, use water with a drop or two of lemon juice or household soap and a soft cloth.
Keeping plants healthy in winter takes a little extra attention but it’s so worth it.
Your plant is doing everything at a much slower pace in the winter and won’t benefit from any added nutrients at this time. Give your plant a break. If they're actively growing, or you have grow lights on, you can apply fertilizer at half strength.
Out of Office
If you take a winter vacation and are short on a plant sitter, move plants away from sources of light. Temporary light deficiency will cause the plant to use less water and prevent them from drying out.
Leaf Loss is Normal
Plants drop their leaves in winter to compensate for the lack of light and in turn, the lack of food. If your plant grew in the warmer months but now looks like it's doing the opposite, don't worry. It’s just adjusting to the changes in seasons. If your plant is overgrown, feel free to trim off a few leaves, as this can prevent further leaf loss. Plus it keeps your plant looking fuller and bushier.
Be proactive and get ready for Seasonal Care: Spring.
Keep growing your plant knowledge.
Want more tips? Sign up for our plant care newsletter and find out how to keep your plants healthy and happy.