Winter is the easiest time of the year to kill your houseplants. Keep your houseplants thriving during the chillier months of the year with our care tips for houseplants in the winter.
No matter how hardy and tough your houseplants are, they are not immune to life-threatening challenges, especially during the winter. Trust us, a lot of houseplants die during this season due to different factors, such as dry air, limited or lower light, short days, and sudden temperature changes from daytime heat to evening chill. So don’t blame yourself because winter is the easiest time of the year to kill a houseplant. Keep your houseplants thriving with our care tips for houseplants in the winter. We can assure you that you will have healthy houseplants that will be ready to grow in spring.
Adjust Your Watering Routine
Two words: limit watering. Your houseplants are more likely to die from overwatering than underwatering, especially during the winter. Your houseplants experience a slower rate of growth during the cold season since the days are shorter, so they receive less light. As a result, photosynthesis slows, and your houseplant enters a resting phase, so they do not require as much water compared to spring and summer. For most houseplants, we recommend that you water them once every fortnight. For succulents, water them every three weeks.
The best time to properly water houseplants is when the soil is completely dry, or the top inch of the soil is dry. To do this, stick your finger about an inch into the soil mix. If it feels dry, your houseplant needs a drink. We highly recommend that you make it a habit to check on your houseplants at least once every two to three weeks. It’s also best to create a watering schedule. Water your houseplants in the morning because the morning sun will dry out any splashes on the leaves.
Avoid Feeding Them During Winter
One of the most important care tips for houseplants in the winter is to pause your feeding schedule or cut it back to once every five weeks. Always follow the instructions on fertilizer labels since too much can result in fertilizer burn or shock, which can kill your plant, especially during the winter, since your houseplants are barely growing. If you continue to feed them, it will most likely upset their natural cycle, so it’s best to put your houseplants on a diet and resume feeding them early spring to give your plant a little boost and to promote growth. Our advice is to let your houseplants rest during the winter.
Check for Pests
We love to bring our houseplants outdoors during spring and summer to catch some extra rays, but once the temperature cools down before we bring them back indoors, it’s a must to get rid of any pests by debugging houseplants. However, due to low humidity levels, your houseplants are prone to pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and thrips. Inspect all your houseplants thoroughly by looking on top and under the leaves. It’s best if you can check your houseplants regularly throughout the winter for pests. You can also spray your houseplants with pesticides to protect them.
Follow the Light
Your houseplants, no matter how hardy and tough they are, will need sunlight to thrive. However, during the winter, it could be quite difficult to provide the proper amount of light since not only are there fewer hours of sunlight, but the rays come in at a lower angle too. So one of our care tips for houseplants in the winter is to move your houseplants to a brighter spot.
We suggest that you clean your windows to allow maximum light transmission. If that’s not possible, you can add artificial light like fluorescent bulbs. Position bulbs 4 to 12 inches away from your houseplants for effective results. Avoid relocating your houseplants close to a frosty window since they will likely get a draft.
Give Them a Dusting
A layer of dust on the leaves of your houseplants will block sunlight. As a result, it will reduce your houseplants’ ability to photosynthesize, which is how your houseplant feeds itself to stay healthy and to avoid getting diseases and pest infestations. So wipe off dust regularly using a damp cloth. It won’t take too much of your time. Plus, cleaning the leaves of your houseplants will make your home look better too!
Increase Humidity Levels
One of the most important care tips for houseplants in the winter is to increase the humidity. It will keep your houseplants healthy and lush, especially for houseplants that originated from humid jungle environments. Generally, houseplants prefer 40-60% humidity, but that seems impossible during the winter, so our top recommendation is to get a humidifier. It will not only benefit your houseplants, but it will also be great for your health. Signs of low humidity on your houseplants include brown edges on leaves, crispy leaves, and wilting or yellow leaves.
If you do not have a humidifier, you can raise the humidity level by creating a microclimate by grouping several plants together to create a pocket of humidity. Another would be to mist your houseplants regularly. However, the effect is temporary. You can also strategically locate your houseplants in more humid rooms, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. Lastly, use pebble trays to increase the humidity for houseplants. Place a layer of pebbles in the tray, add water, then put the plants on top.
Pay Attention to Temperature
If your houseplants originate from tropical regions, then we advise you to watch the temperature since most tropical houseplants prefer daytime temperatures between 65°F to 75°F and nighttime temperature above 50°F. It’s also best to keep your houseplants away from both cold drafts and sources of heat since sudden temperature changes can kill your houseplants.
Prune if Needed
Pruning your houseplants is important because it prevents pests, such as fungus gnats, and mold, especially during the winter. It also prevents your houseplant from looking leggy and thin, and it helps your plant to keep a shape and size perfect for your home. Plus, your plant grows healthier and stronger when you trim and remove dead or dying leaves. However, some plant experts would advise you to trim your houseplants in late winter or early spring, but if it looks like your houseplant is growing leggy, you can pinch plants to encourage branching and bushiness.
Wait to Repot
Repotting your houseplant does not necessarily mean changing its current planter. It actually means changing its potting mix or soil, and fresh soil means new nutrients. However, it’s not advisable to repot your houseplant during winter, except if you have to. For example, if your houseplant is dying rapidly or wilting. Another exception is potted woody plants since they go completely dormant in winter.
Don’t blame yourself if you have to let go of some houseplants during the winter. Trust us, it’s all part of being a plant parent. However, if you want to keep your houseplants thriving until spring, follow our care tips for houseplants in the winter.
Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.