How to Care for Houseplants in the Winter

Whether you grow indoor or outdoor plants, they are not immune to the winter months. So while your tropical plants indoors live in a controlled climate, they still face challenges as plants growing in a garden outside.

The same applies when you bring your plants indoors to winterize as they can go through different stress factors, from fluctuating temperature extremes to chilling at night, to name a few things.

Hence, if you want to keep your plants happy to thrive all year round, they need extra TLC in the cooler months. The reason is that your plants indoors or outside are not doing much. At the same time, indoor plants do not need to endure snow or chilly winds.

Growing conditions inside your home can change. We are here to help you make some adjustments to care for your plants in winter to keep them thriving.

Caring For Indoor Plants

indoor plants in the winter

During winter, plants go into a dormant period inside and outside the home. Hence, you do not fertilize, prune, or repot houseplants when it comes to winter care.

Yet, when the days warm up as spring arrives and the hours get longer in the day, you see your babies liven up to grow.

So, if you do not want to kill your houseplants in winter, then the secret is to adjust your tender loving care routine with the following steps.

Before We Get Started Caring For Houseplants in Winter

Plants can differ from their winter care needs when caring for your indoor garden. Thus, we recommend researching what species of plants you have with their individual needs.

Still, the tips provided will provide a good guideline, but each plant species has different needs. The important thing is to try and mimic their winter needs from where they originate.

Sometimes you find exotic, rare plants that do not go dormant as they come from more moderate zones. Hence, the best is to provide them with the same winter environment when they grow outdoors.

Another helpful thing is to gather some tools to use indoors to create a comfortable space for the plants you bring from outside. Here is some plant equipment you can look at:

Invest in a plant mister if you have exotic plants that need a high humidity level.

Invest in a room humidifier to bring up the room’s moisture levels.

Supplement growth lights if needed to create the right temperature.

Indoor Garden Winter Care Tips

indoor plants care in winter

Great, after researching your plant species, you can use the following guidelines to care for your houseplants.

Change Your Watering Schedule

When it comes to TLC winter care for houseplants, they need less water. Yes, the winter air is drier, but their growth is slower in the colder months. You may even find some plants going completely dormant.

So, to keep your flowering plants hydrated, they need less water to prevent overwatering, making them feel sick from root rot. Still, different plants have distinct watering needs. For example, your cacti and succulent plants need not much water as they are drought tolerant.

Where your tropical foliage will need a bit more water, we recommend you use the finger moisture test in the soil to determine if it is dry about an inch or two before watering. Then, get out your watering can and quench its thirst if it is dry.

A tender loving care tip is to use room temperature water on your plants to prevent them from going into shock with the cold.

Boost Your Tropical Plants Humidity Levels

indoor gardening during winter

Yes, the biggest hurdle any winter home faces is low humidity levels, especially with your exotic plants. The warm air rushes through the heat vents, and most houseplants prefer a 50% moisture level.

So, if you have invested in a humidifier, we recommend moving your houseplants closer to it in darker months. Still, there are other means to raise the moisture level instead of using a humidifier.

You can cluster plants together away from heat sources as plants naturally release moisture through the leaves to put the water to good use. Another option is to move houseplants indoors or to the kitchen or bathroom to enjoy the steam.

Another trick that works well is placing a pebble tray underneath your plants. But please do not let your plants stand in the water. As water evaporates from the tray, it provides your beauties with the moisture they need.

When it comes to misting, you’ll need to do it multiple times a day to be effective. It is where a spray mister helps. Still, also consider the type of plant you have. In some plants, you cannot mist the leaves too much.

A good example is succulents, as the leaves retain water and lead to fungal disease.

Create a Comfortable Temperature

indoor houseplants

During the day, most houseplants feel comfortable with daytime temperatures but at night is when it can become uncomfortable for your indoor plants. The best is to place your plant away from cold drafts or heat sources like ovens, radiators, electronic devices, or fireplaces. Fluctuating temperatures can result in death for your plants, the same as prolonged cold or warmth.

Follow the Sun’s Direction

As you are on daylight hours with fewer hours of sun in the day, the rays are at a lower angle. Hence, you will need to relocate your plants to provide brighter light levels. Still, light levels vary depending on the plant’s needs.

Thus, you might even need to provide your plants with supplemental light, and a good spot is a west or south-facing window that remains sunny all day. Still, please do not move your plants closer to frosty windows as it can result in a draft.

Rotate them a 1/4 turn to give all sides sunlight to grow whenever you water plants. Doing this prevents the branching from reaching out to find the light. Also, provide the leaves with a wipe using a damp cloth to remove dust buildups, avoiding the light they need.

If you have a home that barely gets light in winter, we recommend using grow lights to provide your plants with the direct sunlight they need. Still, your plants will need adequate exposure to keep them actively growing.

Put Your Plants on a Diet

refrain fertilizing plants in the winter

In winter houseplant care, your plants do not need fertilizer as they are not growing actively. So, feeding them will only upset their natural cycle. You can put them on a diet until early spring.

As soon as you notice new growth or leaves appearing green, you can resume the feeding to boost their growth in the growing season. Still, some tropical foliage like your vining climbers or trailers grow actively in winter and might still need feeding at reduced rates.

Do Not Repot Your Houseplants In Winter

When plants grow actively, they can handle the stress of repotting easily. Hence, spring and summer remain the best time to repot your houseplants. So, do not be tempted to get your hands dirty in winter. You will only shock your poor dormant plant and instead start planting some seeds to soothe your winter cold.

Keep Your Eye on Pests

Winter is the time for pests to invade your home from late fall to winter, from mealybugs to spider mites. These critters thrive when it is warm inside. You may also find fungus gnats forming if your plant is too wet.

Another helpful thing to do is to remove decorative covering like large rocks, beach pebbles, or moss to prevent the soil from remaining moist and prevent fungus gnats from taking over your plant.

Please take action now to prevent them from spreading to other houseplants.

Tips For Caring for Outdoor Plants

outdoor plants

As with houseplants, you need to care for your outdoor garden in winter. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Know your plants to find out if they are annuals or perennials, and make sure to bring your tropical and subtropical plants indoors.

  • Keeping perennials outside helps to prune them back by cutting back shrubs, vines, and flowering trees once they complete their blooming. But always remember to look at the plant species you have.

  • Clear out the old mulch around your plants, and once the ground freezes, place another layer of mulch with chopped leaves around the roots to keep them insulated against the cold.

  • While potted plants you can be kept outdoors, these plants remain at risk of root freeze when young. You can protect them using burlap, bubble wrap, or old blankets wrapped around them. Place your plants close to the home foundation and group them. It also helps to provide them with some added protection like mulch.

Winter Houseplant Care Takeaways

indoor plants during winter

The important thing is to pay attention to lighting and watering your plants in winter. You can easily overwater your houseplants, so make sure to cut back on watering.

If your houseplants look a bit sad, they might need more light during the darker months. Hence, move them to a bright spot.

Your plants add a lot of life with beauty to your living space, and with some tender loving care, they can survive winter fine. Let your plants rest during their winter cycle and pamper them from spring to early fall.

Enjoy your indoor and outdoor gardening and take care.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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