Winter is the dormant period, a time when your indoor plants require special attention and care.
If you treat your houseplants similarly as you do during the other months, you will notice a stressed plant that will soon develop problems and diseases.
However, winter care of indoor plants is nothing complicated, and we are here to simplify it for you. In this article, we shall learn how to take care of indoor plants in winter.
Here are 7 simple steps to take care of indoor plants during winters:
- Make sure your houseplants get enough sunlight.
- Adjust the watering schedule and make sure to water the plant only when the soil feels dry.
- Reduce or stop the fertilizer dosing as most indoor plants don’t grow during winters.
- Keep a note of the temperature in different parts of your home and move your plants from areas that get too cold.
- Use a humidifier or pebble trays, or any other way to boost the humidity around your plants.
- Avoid repotting your houseplants unless necessary.
- Keep an eye on possible signs of cold damage and take the necessary steps to maintain the good health of your indoor plants.
To learn more about these steps in detail you can read our article till the end.
Also, If you want to stay prepared to take care of your indoor plants before winter knocks on your door, you are at the right place as we will cover all that you need to know to ace winter care for your indoor plants.
Table Of Contents
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What happens to indoor plants during winter?
Most indoor plants originate from tropical regions and prefer a warm and humid climate, so winter is not ideal.
Plants require bright sunlight, but winter comes with shorter days with fewer hours and low-intensity light. Due to the low light condition, the metabolism of your houseplants slow down, and they go into a dormant state.
While in dormancy, your houseplants do not focus on growth and conserve all their energy for the upcoming growing season. As a reason, its requirements go down.
During winter, your houseplants will need less water, so you need to reduce the water supply by at least half and avoid fertilizing. Since the plants do not focus on growth, they don’t need fertilizer.
How to take care of indoor plants in winter?
Your indoor plants will do fine if they get the proper care during winter, so we are here to mention all the factors that you need to consider and some ways with which you can care for your indoor plants in winter.
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Provide sufficient light
As we already mentioned, the intensity and duration of sunlight decrease during winter and indoor plants do not get a lot of light.
This situation forces the plants to go dormant, but that doesn’t mean that these plants will not require any light.
Therefore, in winter, you must try to provide a good amount of light to your houseplants to fulfill their light requirements.
Here are some points you can adapt to provide light to your indoor plants during winter:
- Move your plants near a window that gets enough light.
- Clean the windows to make sure that the plants get maximum light.
- Clean the leaves on the plants to make sure there is no dust. This will allow the plants to absorb more light.
- South for west-facing windows is the best spot for your indoor plants as these directions get the most sunlight.
- Do not place the plants near frosty windows as that can cause damage.
- You can use grow lights if the natural source of light is not sufficient for your plants.
- Rotate your indoor plants to make sure they get some light on all sides. This will ensure that the plants have even growth.
- You can take out your houseplants to the patio, balcony, or garden to expose them to the sunlight for a few hours in the morning. Since the intensity of the light remains low in winter, it will not cause any harm or sunburn to your plants.
Also read: How much sun do indoor plants need?
Give your houseplants less water.
During winter, indoor plants require less water. The plants’ metabolism rate reduces during the winter, and they do not require as much water.
Another reason is that the temperature decreases during winter and the soil takes longer to get dry. Therefore, the frequency of watering should also go down.
However, many enthusiasts give their plants too much water during winter, which leads to overwatered and sick plants.
The below-mentioned tips will help you water your houseplants correctly in winter:
- Insert your finger up to 2-3 inches inside the soil. Water the plant if the soil is dry. If not, wait for a few days.
- Do not use cold water on your plants, as that can shock them. Always use room temperature water to water your plants.
- If the humidity is low, you will need to water your houseplants more.
- Do not let the houseplants sit in the water that collects in the cache tray. Always remove the water from the cache tray.
Also read: Why Is My Indoor Plant Soil Not Drying? (+8 Effective Ways To Dry The Soil)
Fertilize or not to fertilize
If you have fertilized your indoor plants well during the growing season, they will not require fertilizers in winter.
In winter, your houseplants do not need fertilizer as they do not grow. Here is what you should do in terms of fertilizing your indoor plants in winter:
- Start reducing the fertilizer from fall. You can dilute the fertilizer to half-strength before giving it to your houseplants in the fall season.
- Stop fertilizing during winter.
- You can resume fertilizing when you notice new growth, probably during the early spring.
- You can fertilize your indoor plants if the winter is mild in your region.
Also read: How Often Do You Fertilize Indoor Plants? (When+What To Use)
Note the temperature
The low temperatures of winter can often become a problem if you don’t check on your plants. Most houseplants prefer the same temperature ranges that we are comfortable in.
However, different plants have different temperature requirements. But here are some essential points that you should keep in mind while looking at the temperature aspect of winter.
- Keep your plants away from frosty windows. Frost can severely damage your plants, and you don’t want that.
- Keep your indoor plants away from cold drafts.
- Avoid placing the plants too close to fireplaces, heaters, or radiators, as the heat can burn the leaves and dehydrate the plant.
- You can keep your plants at a distance from the heating sources to increase the temperatures for the plants.
Increase the humidity
Besides low temperatures, low humidity is another setback for indoor plants during winter. Most of your houseplants may be from tropical regions where they get a lot of humidity. But as houseplants, they do not get as much humidity.
But to keep your indoor plants happy, you need to provide at least 50% humidity. While the plants might get that in the summer and spring seasons, the humidity levels drop by 10-20% during winter. And this is where all the problem arises.
To avoid all the humidity-related problems, you must find ways to increase the humidity for your indoor plants during winter.
Here are some common methods:
- Install a humidifier or if you already have one, move your plants near it. A humidifier will provide sufficient humidity to your plants.
- Group the moisture-loving houseplants so that the moisture they release will increase the humidity in that area when they transpire.
- Place some pebbles on a tray and add water to it. Place the plant on top of the pebbles. The humidity will increase when the water starts evaporating from the tray.
- Relocate your plants to the bathroom or kitchen, which have higher humidity levels than the other rooms of your house.
- You can mist the plants to increase the humidity but misting is not a sustainable way of increasing the humidity. You need to mist multiple times to maintain the correct humidity level.
- You can consider placing your indoor plants near an aquarium if you have one in the house, as the area around the aquarium has higher humidity levels.
- You can keep some bowls filled with water around the plants to increase the humidity levels.
Also read: How Often Should Indoor Plants Be Misted? (Ideal Humidity+How To Maintain)
Avoid repotting in winter.
Repotting plays a vital role in keeping indoor plants healthy. But it is not a comfortable change for the plants.
Your houseplant is used to sitting in a pot for quite some time, and repotting brings it out of its comfort zone. It is exposed to a fresh medium in a new pot.
The plants find it difficult to adjust to the changes, and you might often notice signs of stress on your indoor plants after you repotted them. If you want to repot your indoor plants, the best time to do it is during its growing season, spring and summer.
It is easier for the indoor plants to overcome the stress of repotting during the growing season but repotting during winter can cause more stress and damage.
Unfavorable conditions like low temperature, less sunlight, and dry air add to the repotting stress of the plants, which get very difficult for them to overcome.
Therefore, you should avoid repotting your indoor plants during winter unless it is a question of life and death.
Also read: When To Repot Indoor Plants? (Signs, How-To & Other FAQs)
Keep an eye on your houseplants in winter.
Winter can bring sudden problems that might become deadly for your plants. So it is best to watch your houseplants to ensure that they are doing well.
Pests can be a nuisance in winter. The soil takes time to dry in winter, often creating a damp environment ideal for pest infestation. In such conditions, pests like mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids can attack your houseplant and make it weak.
- Always keep your indoor plants clean.
- Ensure that the soil is not taking too long to get dry.
- Avoid overwatering.
- Make sure that the plant receives good airflow.
If you have a plant infested with pests, you must isolate it and spray Neem Oil solution until the pests disappear.
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How to keep indoor plants warm during winter?
Since most indoor plants do not enjoy the low temperatures and cold drafts of winter, you might be thinking of finding out ways to keep your houseplants warm.
We have compiled some common ways that will help you with this.
Use heat mats: Heat mats provide consistent temperatures to the plants. Usually, heat mats are used to make seedlings sprout from seeds, but you can use these to keep your plants warm during winter.
Use bubble wrap: If you don’t have anything else available yet to protect your indoor plants from the cold, use bubble wrap. Take a bubble wrap and cover your plant with it. This will increase the humidity and provide some warmth to the plant.
Use a heat lamp: Another great way of keeping your plants warm is using a heat lamp. These lamps are created to provide heat to the plants without causing any damage. Not only will this keep the plants warm but also help them grow.
Place your plant on top of a refrigerator: If you have ever touched the top part of the refrigerator, you would know that it gives out heat and remains warm if the fridge is on. So, placing the plant on top of the refrigerator will act as a heat mat.
Heater: Yes, we have suggested not keeping your houseplant close to the heater, but keeping it in a room with one or more heaters will keep the plant warm. You just need to make sure that there is a safe distance between the two.
How to keep your indoor plants alive in winter?
If you take proper care of your indoor plants, they will remain not only alive but also healthy throughout the winter.
Here is an overview of everything that will help you take care of your indoor plants in winter.
- Keep your houseplant in a spot where it receives sufficient light to get through winter.
- Increase the humidity with a humidifier, a pebble tray, or by misting regularly.
- Keep the plant clean so that the leaves can absorb enough light.
- Do not overwater. The plants will require less water in winter, so water after checking the top 2 inches of the soil.
- Increase the temperature by keeping your plant in a room that has a heater. Or, you can take the help of a heat mat or heat lamp.
- Observe your plant every few days to make sure it doesn’t have any pest infestation.
- Keep the plants away from frosty windows and areas of the house exposed to cold drafts and low temperatures.
- Avoid fertilizing your houseplants during winter.
- Do not consider repotting unless it is crucial.
- You can prune the damaged leaves and stems that you come across while cleaning the plants.
- Keep the windows clean so that they can provide enough light to your plants.
Also read: Can Houseplants Recover From Cold Damage? (+How To)
Source: University of Illinois, Growing Indoor Plants with Success, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, University of California, Missouri Botanical Garden.
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