If your humble houseplants could throw a jumper and beanie on in winter and thrive through the cold season, trust me, it would. But unfortunately, plants need a bit of help to adapt and boost their immunity to life-threatening challenges during the winter. Indoor plants can be affected by several winter stress factors, including temperatures that fluctuate from daytime heat to evening chill, dry air, and short days that reduce the amount of light they receive.
Before we get started, it’s important to do a little research on your plants and learn their specific needs. It’s best to mimic the native conditions of your plants to help them during winter and this will determine how you’ll modify your winter plant care routine.
In the cooler season of winter, your plant’s soil takes much more time to completely dry. With less sunlight, dryer air and lower humidity it is best to limit the watering during this time and check the soil first before you give your plants a drink. To check, stick your finger about 3cm into the soil mix and if it feels dry, your plant needs a drink. The best rule of thumb is you can always add more water but harder to deduct water, so don’t worry if your plants are a bit under-watered during this season as you can revive them easily. Create a watering schedule to make it convenient.
TIP: Do not use cold water. Use water that is about room temperature to avoid shocking the plant's roots. Tap water can get very cold in some winter climates, so let the water sit for several hours before watering your plants. Gradual warming in this way also allows dissolved gases, such as chlorine, to evaporate out of the water.
One of the important winter plant care tips is to increase the humidity. This will help keep your plants healthy and lush. Signs of low humidity on your plants include brown edges on leaves, crispy leaves, and wilting or yellow leaves. To help avoid these outcomes you can place a humidifier in your plants’ area or raise the humidity by grouping several plants together to create a pocket of humidity or look to strategically place your plants in humid rooms, such as the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room.
We all love the feeling of sunshine on our skin and plants are no different! Plants need light to survive and during winter it can be challenging to provide sufficient amounts. Throughout the colder months adjust your plants to a brighter spot in your home or invest in grow lights. What are grow lights you say? Grow lights as a substitute for sunlight. Simply place bulbs 10 to 30 cm away from your houseplants for effective results.
Like your home, plants over time can collect dust in nooks and crannies. A layer of dust on the leaves of your plants will block sunlight. As a result, it can reduce your plants’ ability to photosynthesise and make them prone to diseases and pest infestations. Wipe off dust regularly with a soft cloth or duster.
Plants experience a slower growth during the cold season, so avoid fertiliser to ensure you don't shock or burn your plant, which can result in killing your plants during winter. Best to cut it back and resume feeding them in early spring to give your plant a little boost and promote growth.
Check out our Best Winter Houseplants blog to learn more about what houseplant species are easy to care for during the winter months.