8 Ways to Keep House Plants Alive During Winter

Ha, winter – a time to snuggle between clothes, stay out of the water, manage with less sunlight, and develop coping mechanisms for the cold months. Like humans, house plants also feel the effect of winter – if not more. It’s about that time of the year when they’ll look sad, turn yellow, drop a few leaves, or maybe wither and die. Keeping your house plants alive during winter is more complicated than in summer, which explains why most gardeners turn to indoor gardening in winter. But not to worry, we’ll give you 8 tips to keep your leafy friend looking happy and green through winter. 

1. Reduce water 

Can reducing watering sound counterproductive? All houseplants require less water in winter. There is little light during winter; the less light a plant receives, the less the thirst. Therefore, less light means less water. A plant that requires watering every week can go days without water.

Before watering your plant, stick a finger an inch into the soil to check the dryness. Alternatively, use a moisture meter to check the moisture level. If the soil is moist, don’t water it.

2. Raise the humidity level 

Although you can’t water your plant as you used to, you can increase the moisture in the air. Most tropical houseplants grow at 40 – 50% humidity level. However, like sunlight, humidity drops to under 20% during winter. Therefore, group your babies by moving the pots closer to increase the humidity level around them. You can also run a humidifier if you have one or put your plants near the bathroom or kitchen window, or fill a pebble tray with water and put it under the pots. 

3. Cut back on fertilizer

Houseplants do more resting than growing in winter. Therefore, you don’t need to apply fertilizers, even if you discover they are not producing leaves or stems. That’s easy, right? 

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4. Bath and dust your plants 

Dust accumulates on plants during winter and restricts the absorption of nutrients. To get rid of dust, bathe your plant in the bathtub under a gentle shower. Another way is to wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. You can also simulate outdoor mist by occasionally giving your plant a little spitz from the mister. 

5. Manage sunlight 

Houseplants receive less sunlight in winter than in spring or summer. Although their slow growth in winter requires lower light levels, houseplants still need light. Instead of putting your houseplant in a dark corner or the south-facing window, buy a grow light specific for small plants. For something more natural, put your plants in a warm room, closer to the window. Then, rotate the pot a quarter turn every week so that all sides receive sunlight. 

6. Use a heater 

One of the ways you can keep your plants warm in winter is to use a space heater. However, you must be careful with this approach to avoid extreme temperatures. Place the heater several feet from your plant to prevent damage. Not only this, but keep your plant away from hot air vents, cold drafts, radiators, and other sources of a sudden cold or hot draft that can dry them out. 

7. Control pests 

Spider mites, aphids, and other houseplant pests thrive during winter. Since houseplants are primarily dormant in winter, the effect of these bugs is more prominent. Therefore, the best way to control pests is to regularly inspect your plants when you water them for signs of bugs. You can also use non-toxic insecticides to treat the infestation, mix the insecticide and spray it on their leaves. 

8. Don’t repot in winter 

The best time to repot your plant is during spring and summer when they are actively growing. That said, resist the urge to repot, as you risk over-watering and root rot. However, if your plant soil dries out almost immediately after watering it, you can attempt to repot it even in winter to save it. You can also trim your plants to stay healthy but only try heavy trimming in spring. 

Conclusion 

Winter is coming, even for your plants. Before they start turning yellow and dropping leaves, it is better to prepare ahead with the tips above. There is no hard and fast rule with any of the rules above. Instead, it depends on the type of plant and the dryness of your house. Once spring arrives, transition outdoors slowly to avoid frosts.