Winter can be just as challenging for our houseplants as it is for us. The days are shorter and can be overcast, so they get less light overall. The air in our homes can be very dry when the furnace is on, making it hard for plants to retain moisture. When we open doors to come inside, we let in a pretty significant draft of much colder air than our plants are used to.
Here are five houseplant care tips you can use to help keep your green friends a little more comfortable over the winter.
Forced air furnaces are very efficient at sucking all the moisture out of our indoor air. That’s great for preventing mould and decay in your home, but it’s not great for your plants. Extremely dry air can cause plant leaves to get crispy and die. Increasing the humidity around your plants can help prevent these problems.
Raise humidity levels by adding pebble trays underneath plant pots, using a humidifier, or grouping your plants in clusters.
Clustering plants together helps them to create a little microclimate within a room. When you have several plants of varying sizes together in one location, the air will be a little more humid around them.
Remember to consider light and other care needs when creating your plant groups.
Some houseplants go into a state of dormancy for the winter where they don’t grow at all. Some grow much more slowly than they do in the summer. Regardless, winter is not the time to be fertilizing your plants because they’re not growing very much.
Excess fertilizer and nutrients can weaken your plant, leaving them more susceptible to root rot and pest infestations. Stick to plain water between November and April.
Keep Plants Away From Drafts
Drafts can cause multiple problems. Warm drafts from furnace vents or a fireplace will cause plants to dry out incredibly fast. You might notice more crispy leaves and parched-looking soil. Cold drafts from exterior doors and windows can cause shock. Most houseplants are tropical, so they’re not going to love being blasted by sub-zero air every time the front door is opened.
Draft Protection Tips:
Position your plants in their clusters, a safe distance from vents, outside doors, and windows that you might open through the winter.
Adjust Watering Schedule
Many factors affect how much water your plants will need. As climatic conditions change with the seasons, so do the water needs. Because there is less light, most plants grow slower, so they will use less water than when they grow rapidly in spring and summer. But, when you add in the factor of furnaces drying out the air, they may dry out faster than you expect them to.
Lots of advice says to water less in winter, but often this is interpreted as just giving your plants tiny sips now and then. What that advice actually means is to water less frequently, but still deeply. The best advice is to regularly check the soil in your pots to decide if your plants need water. When you do water, it’s still best to give your plants a thorough soaking and then let them drain for a while, so they don’t end up sitting in any water.
If you want to add some new houseplants to help cheer you up through the winter or create a more humid microclimate for your other plants, stop by our garden centre in Powell River. We have plenty of houseplants, pots with drainage holes, and all the accessories you might need to care for your houseplants!