Winter is the dormant period for most tropical houseplants, including Chinese evergreen or Aglaonema. If you own a Chinese evergreen and winter is approaching, you might be wondering how to take care of the Chinese evergreen so that it can survive the winter without an issue.
To care for Chinese evergreens during winter, you need to follow these steps:
- Provide sufficient light to your Chinese evergreen.
- Reduce the watering frequency and only water when the topsoil gets a little dry.
- Stop fertilizing the chinese evergreen once the fall season ends.
- Ensure the plant is kept away from cold drafts, furnaces, and other equipment.
- Use a humidifier or any other technique to maintain humidity above 50%.
- Do not move, propagate or repot the plant unnecessarily as that can stress the plant.
This article will take you through how I care for my Chinese evergreen in winter to keep it healthy and help it survive the dormant period.
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Can Chinese evergreen survive winter?
Chinese evergreens are tropical plants with beautifully patterned leaves, and they can tolerate different conditions, including winter. However, winter is the dormant period for your Chinese evergreen.
During the dormant period, plants go into rest mode to conserve their energy. They don’t focus on growing and instead sustain themselves to thrive when the growing season arrives.
Your Chinese evergreen will not die when the temperatures fall, or the weather becomes dry during winter. However, you must keep it inside the house and make the dormant period as comfortable as you can.
How do you take care of Aglaonema in the winter?
Since Chinese evergreen or Algaonema belongs to the tropical regions, it prefers a warm climate with high humidity. Winter is not ideal for these plants, but winter will not be an issue if you provide the proper care.
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1. Provide enough light
One of the main reasons plants go dormant during winter is the lack of light. The duration and intensity of the sunlight reduce significantly during winter.
Due to insufficient light, Chinese evergreen goes into a dormant state in winter. But since plants can’t survive without light, you must try to provide as much light as possible.
These points will help you provide more light to your Chinese evergreen.
- Avoid placing your Chinese evergreen near frosty windows.
- You can place your Chinese evergreen outside for a few hours in the morning. Since the intensity of the sunlight remains low, it will not cause any harm to the plant.
- Place the Chinese evergreen near a window that gets bright indirect sunlight. Consider a south-facing window as this direction gets the most sunlight.
- Clean the leaves of your Chinese evergreen with a wet cloth as dust accumulation can restrict growth.
- Keep the window clean so that the plant can receive maximum light.
- If your house doesn’t have enough natural light, use artificial lights.
- Rotate the Chinese evergreen, so it gets light on all sides.
2. Maintain the humidity
During winter, the humidity levels drop drastically. This condition is unsuitable for your Chinese evergreen as this plant requires high humidity to thrive.
Chinese evergreen prefers humidity levels of 60-70%. The plant will develop different problems without sufficient humidity, especially during winter.
However, you can improve the humidity by following any of these:
- Install a humidifier to maintain the correct humidity levels for your Chinese evergreen.
- Use a pebble tray if you don’t have a humidifier. Take a tray and put some pebbles in it. Fill it with water and place the Chinese evergreen on the pebbles. The humidity will increase as the water evaporates from the tray.
- Group your Chinese evergreen plant with other tropical plants that require high humidity.
- Take the plant to the bathroom or kitchen as these rooms have more humidity than the house’s other rooms.
- Misting is also an option though it doesn’t work for long. But if no other option is available, mist the plant to increase the humidity.
- If you have an aquarium, place your Chinese evergreen near it. As the water evaporates from the aquarium, it will add humidity to the plant.
3. Take care of the temperatures
Low temperatures are a severe problem for plants during winter. Chinese evergreen plants require a warm climate with high temperatures, whereas low temperatures are the opposite of that.
You should maintain average room temperatures to keep your Chinese evergreen healthy during winter. Here is how you can do that.
- You can place your Chinese evergreen in a room with a heater or fireplace to provide it warmth, but don’t keep it too close.
- Keep your Chinese evergreen away from cold drafts.
- Don’t place the plant near frosty windows during winter.
- Avoid keeping your Chinese evergreen outside during winter.
4. Stop fertilizing the plant
Chinese evergreen is a light feeder, and it thrives with little fertilizer application during the growing season. However, it doesn’t require any fertilizer during winter.
Since winter is the dormant period for the Chinese evergreen, it will not focus on growth and therefore not require any fertilizer. If you still fertilize the plant, the fertilizer will remain in the soil, get into the plant’s roots, and burn them.
You must start reducing the fertilization from the fall season and stop during winter. You can fertilize the plant after you start seeing growth.
5. Don’t repot the Chinese evergreen in winter
First of all, Chinese evergreen doesn’t require much repotting. It requires repotting only when it gets rootbound. Since the Chinese evergreen has a shallow root system, repotting once in 3-4 years is enough.
All plants go through stress after repotting. This is because the plants get comfortable in the pot they live in and suddenly change pot and soil.
The stress can go on for a few days, after which the plant adjusts to the new pot, and its health starts improving.
However, winter is not the correct time to repot a Chinese evergreen. The conditions are not ideal for its growth, and the repotting stress will multiply due to the unfavorable conditions.
If you want to repot your Chinese evergreen, wait for the spring and proceed.
However, if there is some severe issue such as root rot where you can’t wait for spring, you can repot in winter but keep the plant protected from low temperatures and frost.
6. Reduce watering the plant
One crucial factor to remember during winter is that the Chinese evergreen will not need as much water as it needs in its growing season.
During the dormant period, the metabolism rate of your Chinese evergreen will reduce, and so it will require less water.
Also, the temperature levels drop during winter, keeping the soil moist for longer. If you don’t reduce the watering frequency, the plant will get overwatered.
Always check the soil by inserting your finger inside the soil before watering your Chinese evergreen. Water it only if the soil feels dry or else wait and let the soil get dry.
Don’t forget to empty the cache tray so that the plant doesn’t sit on the water. And always use room-temperature water as cold water can shock your Chinese evergreen.
7. Look out for pests
Your Chinese evergreen will attract pests if you overwater it. Most pests will get attracted to a moist environment. Mealybugs, whiteflies, and scales will infest your Chinese evergreen and feed on it.
However, if you don’t keep the soil moist and provide enough humidity, it will create an ideal environment for spider mite infestation. Spider mites tend to attack dry conditions.
If you want to prevent pests on your Chinese evergreen, you must give it just enough water to keep the soil moist without making it soggy. Don’t keep the plant in a damp environment and allow good airflow around the plant.
Keep a check on the soil to ensure it dries on time and doesn’t take too long. Also, use a neem oil solution while misting the plant. This will not only add humidity but also keep the pesky pests away.
8. Find the ideal spot for your Chinese evergreen
The placement of your Chinese evergreen can determine the plant’s health during winter. Since the light intensity reduces, find a spot to get maximum light.
If you can’t find such a spot or get enough natural light in the house, use artificial lights and place your Chinese evergreen plant below it.
If your Chinese evergreen is placed near a frosty window or a window exposed to cold drafts, take it away and place it somewhere safe. Also, don’t place it too close to any heating source, making the plant very dry.
Since Chinese evergreen is a toxic plant, keep it in a place away from children and pets.
Every houseplant requires a different care routine during winter. You need to make slight changes in the routine to keep your plant healthy and help it survive the winter. The same rule goes for Chinese evergreens.
Provide as much light as possible, reduce watering and stop fertilizing it. Protect your Chinese evergreen from low temperatures, frost, and cold drafts. Try to provide at least room temperatures and keep the humidity levels above 50%.
Keep checking the plant to avoid missing any signs of problems and quickly fix the issues. If you don’t change the care routine or neglect your Chinese evergreen during winter, it can get severe damage, and it will become hard for the plant to survive.