Did you know that it is very easy to kill your houseplants in winter if you don’t take good care of them? Overwhelming growing conditions such as cold temperature, short days, dry air, and less to no sunlight put houseplants through stress. The key to helping them endure winter is by modifying care schedules to suit the new growing conditions. Luckily, there’s a great deal you can do to help your home plants endure the winter. Here are some tips for you to remember.
During winter, the sun is often covered by the clouds since the sun goes lower in the sky. This results in 50% fall in the light levels close to windows. Houseplants that can flourish close to a bright northern or eastern window in summer may require a western or southern light in winter. Also, plants close to southern or western windows that need filtered light in summer might tolerate direct winter sun. In order to get the plants to adapt to the new levels of light:
- If possible, place the plants closer to/in front of brighter windows.
- Wipe off the dust from the windows to permit higher light transmission.
- Clean any dust or dirt from the plants so that the leaves can utilize a maximum level of light.
- Try artificial lights like fluorescent bulbs that give satisfactory light. They are way cheaper than grow lights and generate minimal heat. Put the bulbs (4 to12 inches) from plants for best outcomes.
Tropicals are often used as houseplants and they love warm temperatures (65 to 75°F) during the day and around (55 to 65°F) in the evening. Anything below 50°F will cause issues for some plants. Use your thermostats as you wish but remember to consider the effect of temperature on your plants. Keep the plants away from heat sources or cold drafts. If you live in colder regions and your windows do freeze overnight, remove the plants from the windows before you go to bed at nightfall. Or you can simply use a thick blanket or another insulating material in between the glass and the plants.
The greatest obstacle to defeat in winter is low humidity. Plants need 50% humidity to grow well, meanwhile, the humidity in warmed homes can drop to 20% during winter. If you own a humidifier, transfer your plants to an area where they will get the most of its advantages. But if you don’t own a humidifier, you have to increase the level of humidity by other methods.
Begin by putting the plants close together. Plants normally produce water through their leaves during transpiration, so placing them together will let them use the moisture produced by another plant. If there is space in your kitchen or bathroom, they are perfect for plants, since boiling water and showers produce the most moisture.
Another great alternative is by putting your plants beside a bowl of water. If you want to place the potted plants in water, don’t let the bottom stay in direct contact with the water. Create higher base support with rocks or stones in the water and put the plants on the raised base.
Misting is makes the gardener feel better than the plant. You might think that you are relieving your plants, however, it’s just a brief moisture blast. For the plants to get any noticeable benefits, you will have to mist them several times per day. Misting would have caused problems like fungal infections to the plants during summer, but that is not an issue in winter. There is less to no moisture in the air, and that even diminishes when it gets colder.
Another popular problem that plants experience during winter is overwatering. Over 95% of houseplants need the soil to be completely dry before your next watering. How will you know if the plants have enough water? Don’t simply spot test the soil at the top. Since plants only need water when the root area is dry, jab your finger into the soil (about 2 inches). If it feels dry, water it. Another quick test is to feel the weight of the pot. Soil feels light when it is dry. Start by weighing the potted plants just after you water it – this will serve as a control. You can just weigh the pot again after a day to compare the weight before and after. If your rooms are humidified, your plants won’t even need much water. Dry air means you have to water often. Special cases to watering: Potted ferns and citrus require soil that must always stay moist. Continuously check the water needs for your plants in case you are uncertain.
Let your plants be on diet
Since your plants are not really growing in winter, they hardly need fertilizer. Giving them fertilizer unnecessarily will throw off their natural cycle, so pause till late-winter. If you start seeing indications of new growth, or the current leaves seems to be getting greener, start giving them fertilizers gradually to stimulate more growth. It is good to take care of your plants, just don’t go overboard and smother them with kindness. Look out for early indications of issues, which might be a fungal infection. Hold up until the growing season starts, before you plant cuttings or re-pot plants. Look at winter as a hibernating period for your houseplants and allow them to relax.
Keep the leaves clean
Since most homes are often closed during winter, the indoor air will keep spreading dust. Once the leaves become dusty, the indoor plants won’t be able to get enough sunlight and they will be prone to infections. This can be easily fixed by using a clean cloth to wipe the leaves monthly or as required.
Watch out for pests
Pests are a menace to plants during winter. Once they land on your plants, they will spread to the rest of your home in no time and wreak havoc. This is another reason to clean the plants regularly. Watch out for mites, and when a plant get infected, treat the plant right away or discard the affected plant.
It is not easy to take care of indoor plants, but they are a beauty to see and they also have immense benefits on your mood and health. Once you get the hang of it, your care practice will be child’s play in no time.