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 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 plants are getting enough light. If plants are leaning towards the light source, gradually rotate them every few days to help them straighten out. If plants have spindly new growth, move them closer to the light.
Add Artificial Light
Consider supplemental lighting during darker days. You can use any fixture, just make sure it’s 1-3 feet away from the plan. Go for a bulb that has at least 1000 Lumens of output, ideally in white. LED bulbs are fine but CFL bulbs are best.
Mind the Draft
A temperature flux or cold draft can cause plants to stress out. Keep your plants away from open windows and front doors, as well as heating units and radiators. Some plants like Tillandsia are more sensitive to cold than others. If you’re feeling the chill, chances are, your plant is too.
Feel sleeping in winter? Plants do too. That's thanks to shorter days and less sun. Tropical plants go dormant from October to February. This will change how much you water your plants. Allow soil to dry out completely between waterings, as soaked soil can lead to root rot. Either wait longer between waterings or reduce the amount of water. If you know your plant prefers humid conditions, like a Bird’s Nest Fern, mist it weekly so it stays moist between waterings.
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. Studies have shown indoor plants help combat SAD (Seasonal-Affective Disorder). If you feel seasonal depression, get a plant. Plants are proven to help alleviate symptoms, making winter not so SAD after all.
Studies have shown indoor plants help combat SAD (Seasonal-Affective Disorder).
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.
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.