5 Easy Ways to Give Your Indoor Plants Some Extra Love This Winter
It appears that humans are not the only species that can experience seasonal depression. Houseplants are likewise affiliated, albeit on a physical level rather than emotional.
The shorter days, frigid temperatures, and decreased humidity in modern homes can wreak havoc on your indoor plants, especially for sunlight and humidity lovers like succulents, cacti, and ferns. What’s more, plants naturally go dormant during the off-season, and your care routine should adjust accordingly.
Fortunately, there are relatively easy, inexpensive steps you can take to prepare your plants for winter and show them a little TLC during this inhospitable season.
With the proper precautions, your indoor plants should look just as sprightly and full of life throughout winter as they do in peak summer sunshine. Find our five winter plant care tips below.
5 Indoor Plant Care Tips for Winter
1. Avoid drafts
Temperature fluctuations are basically a houseplant’s kryptonite, so it’s best to move your greenery away from cold or warm drafts come wintertime. Heating vents and windows are the common offenders, especially if your windows are older and not sealed properly.
Even moving a houseplant 2-3 feet away from a heating vent can positively impact overall health. Plants with browning, yellowing, or wilting leaves are likely too close to a hot or cold draft.
2. Tweak your care routine
Indoor plants naturally go dormant in the wintertime, so it’s important to respect that natural cycle and give them time to rest. Generally speaking, you should pause on all fertilizer and space out waterings until April or May, when sunlight exposure increases and plants re-enter their growth phase.
A houseplant that you used to water once a week, for example, may be able to go two to three weeks between waterings since they’re not actively growing. Keep in mind that your plants may not sprout any new growth during winter, but don’t be alarmed —this is completely normal!
3. Consider a humidifier
Humidity naturally drops in the wintertime, and your plants may suffer droopy leaves and wilted foliage as a result. More specifically, heated homes can drop to 10 to 20% humidity, and indoor plants prefer 40 to 60% (especially tropical species like monstera, ferns, and palm plants).
To correct this imbalance, consider investing in a few humidifiers to sprinkle throughout your home. If you have a designated plant room, even better — close the door, supplement with weekly mistings, and really allow the humidity to build. What’s more, humidifiers are great for you too, especially if you struggle with frequent colds or dry skin and hair come winter.
4. Follow the sun or invest in a grow light
While it’s important to be conscious of window drafts, sunlight is arguably the most important ingredient when raising happy, healthy houseplants. Depending on which direction your home or apartment faces, the sunlight will likely hit your space differently as the seasons change.
Take note of how the natural light streams in at this time of year, and consider repositioning your houseplants accordingly. Sun-lovers like succulents and cacti will especially appreciate any sunlight they can get!
If wintertime sunlight is in seriously short supply in your area, consider buying an LED grow light. These gadgets emit direct, full-spectrum light all year round, including an extra hit of blue light that plants crave. Seedlings, herbs, vegetable plants, orchids, and tropical plants will drink in LED light all season long.
5. Wipe down the leaves
While your plants will benefit from cleanings year-round, it’s especially important to take this extra step in wintertime to maximize sunlight absorption. Dust build-up and other debris can impact photosynthesis and slow plant productivity, hindering growth long-term.
Because sunlight is already in short supply this time of year, your houseplants will relish this extra TLC — especially those with large leaves, like the Bird of Paradise. To clean your plants, simply dust the leaves once a week, or gently wipe with a damp cloth if the leaves have considerable dust build-up.
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