The cooler months are upon us, this means that our routine plant care needs to change to account for the change in conditions, this will mean that you will give your beloved house plants the chance to have beautiful growth once spring is here.
Most people have tropical plants in their homes and therefore these plants will prefer temperatures between 18-23°c during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night. For many plants, temperatures below 10°c can cause problems.
Adjusting your heating to cater to your comfort is ok, but always remember your plants need some consideration.
- Avoid placing plants near cold drafts or heat sources.
- Keep plants 5-10 cm away from exterior windows.
- In cold regions, if windows frost overnight, move plants away from windows at dusk. You can also slip a heavy shade or other insulating material between plants and glass.
Most homes may offer only 5-10% relative humidity in winter. Most houseplants like 40-50%. The first signs of low humidity stress on plants may include brown leaf tips and appearance of pests like Spider Mites. Learn simple ways to improve humidity around plants.
- One simple way is to place a tray with pebbles in the tray and top with water, then place your pot plant on top.
- You can also get yourself a good humidifier, there’s many different models on the market that will be suitable for your needs.
The most common issue houseplants suffer from in winter is overwatering. Overwatering is a serious risk for your houseplants and can lead to irreversible damage.
About 90% of houseplants need soil to dry out almost completely before watering. How do I know my plant needs water?
- Don't just spot test the soil surface. Plants need water when the root zone is dry. Poke your finger into soil up to your second knuckle or use a chopstick. If the soil is dry like a dry cake batter- you can water. If it’s already moist (dirt sticks to your finger or chopstick) you need to wait before watering again.
- Lift the pot potting soil is lighter when it's dry. Learn how wet soil feels by lifting pots immediately after watering.
- If you use a humidifier in winter, plants won't need water as often. Dry air means watering.
- Exceptions to drying out between watering: Some palms & ferns require consistently moist soil. Always research plant moisture needs if you're unsure
- When you do water, never allow plants to sit overnight in water that collects in the drainage saucer- this can be a breeding home for bugs!
In milder climates, you can continue to fertilise plants through winter. In coldest climates where natural light levels are low, do not fertilise houseplants in winter. Resume fertilising when outdoor plants wake up in spring. Always check your plants needs requirements before using fertiliser in winter- excessive use in the cooler months can do more damage than good if over used.
The right time to repot most houseplants is during periods of active growth – in spring and summer. The exception is potted woody plants that go completely dormant in winter. Transplant those prior to bud break in early spring.
This is a topic often debated by indoor plant enthusiasts, to answer this clearly it’s important to understand that- some house plants display signs of dormancy in winter, due to the drop in temperature, low humidity, and shorter days/lower light. Whilst some plants truly go dormant and drop all their leaves, most just slow down significantly, putting out less new growth to conserve energy.
A lot of your plants may in fact not go completely dormant, they may instead stop producing the beautiful foliage we had during spring/ summer months. They will do their best to conserve the foliage they have and sporadically produce foliage that often is smaller and not as nice as the foliage we get during spring/ summer.
Some of the best ways to help your beloved plants during this period is to closely monitor the above mentioned aspects of care.
We hope this can help you best prepare your beloved house plants for the cooler months ahead.
Our biggest tip:INCREASE HUMIDITY + DO NOT OVER WATER!