Worried about how to care for your houseplants this winter? There are a few important things to consider in your houseplant care as the seasons change. Let's go over some of the most important ways you'll need to adjust your care so your plants can thrive thru the winter months!
Light and Water: The number of hours your plant is exposed to natural light will shorten as the days get shorter. Because of this, your plant will need to be watered less frequently throughout the winter compared to the spring and summer. Remember, the ratio of light to water needs to stay about the same year round for tropical foliage, so as the amount of light goes down, you'll want to carefully observe the dryness levels of the potting mix and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. We have had countless customers come in to the shop in about November grieving a favorite plant that "was doing great all summer and then just suddenly died". When we ask if anything changed in their care regimen, they usually say no. Which is exactly the problem. When the environmental factors you don't control (like the number daylight hours) change, then the environmental factors you do control (like watering frequency) need to change as well!
Humidity: Before you start using forced air heating, take a walk thru your home and make sure none of your plants are directly under, or even within a few feet, of your heating vents. Sudden bursts of warm, dry air can really have a negative impact on houseplants, especially those that are more sensitive to humidity levels, like Fiddle Leaf Figs, Calathea, and Ferns. Consider using a humidifier during the coldest months when you use your heater the most (it's great for your air quality too!). Clustering your plants together and using a pebble humidity tray for the winter can help a lot too!
Growth:In general, your plants will put out minimal to zero growth between about October to March. Don't get concerned about this! They're just taking a little rest and will start putting out new growth again in the spring.
Fertilizing: Most plants should not be fertilized during the winter. Because they're not getting enough light to make use of the nutrients in fertilizer during the colder months, fertilizing from about October to March is just a waste of your time and money, and at worst, can actually damage your plants if the fertilizer is too strong.
Grooming: Your plant is likely to lose a few of its older leaves as the seasons change. With the daylight hours getting shorter, the plant has less energy to devote to its leaves and it will often shed a few of the older leaves to become more efficient during the leaner light months. Gently remove the yellowing leaves with clean snips. As long as it's not more than a few leaves and it does not continue to lose more and more, it's not a sign of anything more serious than the changing season!
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