Winter is coming. Maybe, it’s hard to tell. It is Houston after all.
But even if you live in a place that doesn’t get dramatically cold during winter months, you’ll still need to adjust your plant care routine to accommodate health and future growth come Spring. Plants grow significantly slower and/or not at all during the winter, some go completely dormant and because of this, will need less water. Here are a few things to be mindful of during winter months to make sure your plants are staying happy and healthy.
With winter comes heat, and space heaters and the furnace in your home will dramatically decrease the moisture in the air. This is perfectly normal and not something to worry about but definitely something to be aware of. You can increase moisture levels in your home to avoid crispy plants by utilizing a humidifier or setting pebble trays with water under your plants. If a humidifier is not quite in the budget, you can always place glasses of water on shelves, tables, or on the floor near your plants. The water will evaporate and your plants will benefit from the natural humidity.
Huddles create Humidity
Plants are stronger in numbers! Before the temperature starts to drop (preemptively during Fall months), you’ll want to start grouping plants together. Keeping species of plants together that enjoy the same type of humidity and environment is ideal. For example, philodendrons, ferns and calatheas would all appreciate the same high moisture levels of a bundling. Misting is also recommended during winter months to promote moisture in the air. Plant shelves and corners are great for creating huddles.
TIP. Not all plants need to be bundled. Succulents and cacti are among plants that will do just fine sitting pretty on their own.
A vent or a drafty doorway or window is the fastest way to kill a plant. Outside of overwatering. Regardless of the time of year, you’ll want to check to see that when your AC/Heat kicks on, it’s not blowing directly on your plants. Ficus plants are notoriously sensitive to climate changes and want to be tucked in a corner out of harm's way. If you have an older home, the windows and doors might not be sealed very well and as a result could leak cold air during the winter. Check your windows and make sure to keep your plants away from these areas. Older homes sometimes don’t have the best insulation in the walls. Exterior walls in older homes might be colder than interior walls. Place your plants near interior walls that do not share a wall with the outside.
Treat for Pests
Pest can be a problem year round but if you’ve got a substantial indoor jungle, you might routinely experience pests during Fall/Winter months. Pests are cold-blooded and tend to be more active in the summer months, however, move indoors when temperatures drop. Neem oil is a great, natural, non-toxic pest solution for plants. Spray the tops and bottoms of leaves with neem oil, wipe away and say good-bye to pests for the winter! Neem oil is also a natural leaf shine and will keep your plants looking great.
In general, plants grow a lot slower in the winter and some plants go through a dormant phase and stop growing altogether. Because of this, they need much less attention. Do not water them as often as you would in spring or summer. This is crucial because overwatered plants in winter time can mold quickly due to the colder temperatures. Make sure your plants are well lit and warm during the winter, and they should be perfectly happy. If there is a lack of natural light during the winter, you can use regular LED light bulbs to add extra lighting.
Avoid Fertilizing til Spring
Again, because plants slow or stop growing during the winter, they do not need to be fertilized. Over fertilizing in the winter can actually kill your plants. They aren’t growing and won’t be able to absorb the fertilizer in winter. Resume fertilizing in spring when you can see new growth on your plants.
Plants overall need a lot less attention in the winter because they are most likely not growing at all. Add humidity with humidifiers, pebble trays, or glasses of water. Make sure your plants are not placed in drafty areas or near exterior walls if your home doesn’t have the best insulation. Treat your plants for pests, water them less and stop fertilizing. If you follow all of these steps, your plants should remain happy and healthy during the wintertime.
If you have any questions at all, regarding plant care, feel free to call Dirt Bag or stop by! We’re happy to help and make sure you’re on the right plant path.