Updated: Nov 29, 2019
Many of us specifically purchase houseplants to brighten and bring a little greenery to our homes during the dreary days of winter. However, this can be a challenging time for houseplants due to the drastic change in conditions for us in the northern hemisphere.
There is a distinct difference between water for a houseplant and humidity for a houseplant. These two aspects of winter care are essential for a happy houseplant who is both needing increased humidity and decreased watering during this time of the year. Typically most houseplants grow more slowly in the winter, and therefore require less water. Overwatering your plants during the winter can result in drooping yellow leaves and rotten roots (especially if your pot doesn't have drainage.)
To check the status of your plant, be sure to stick your finger down into the soil to your second knuckle. Do not just check the surface of the soil. If it seems dry, give it some water. If you want a more accurate way of gauging the moisture of your soil, you can pick up a moisture metre from our store. Keep in mind that all plants have different watering requirements, so tailor your watering schedule appropriately. If you are unsure about a specific plants watering requirements, our helpful staff can help guide you.
During the winter our homes are being heated with a variety of sources such as forced air systems, gas fireplaces and baseboard heaters. Although on the West Coast we typically have lot of moisture in the air from our frequent rain, inside our homes the humidity can drop significantly due to this heating. This low humidity is hard on plant leaves and can cause dry tips.
To help increase the level of humidity for your plants, there are several solutions. The first would be to purchase a home humidifier and place your plants near to it. Another solution is to relocate your plants into rooms with high humidity such as your kitchen and bathrooms where steam is often produced by boiling water and hot showers. If you are relocating your plants, just be aware of their lighting conditions (which we will talk about next.)
Another great plant hack is to place stones in a plant saucer and fill the saucer with water, then place your plant pot on top of the stones (not in the water with the stones). This way as the water evaporates, it will do so in very close proximity to the plant. We sell both glazed ceramic and plastic saucers, and decorative pebbles in store so you can make a beautiful and functional display with them.
Misting your plants is another option for your plants. To be beneficial you will have to mist your plants several times a day, which can become cumbersome if you have numerous plants, but worth it in the long run. We sell a wide array of sprayers and misters, so come in and check out our selection.
Many of us suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter - aka the winter blues. This is because our circadian rhythm is thrown out of sorts due to a decline in exposure to sunlight (among other things). However, you aren't alone! Your houseplants will experience a similar effect due to the reduction in light. Though plants grow much less in the winter, they still require sun all year round to stay alive. Consider relocating your plants to a sunnier location in your home, or supplement them with an artificial source like a grow light. We sell several Sun Blaster lighting products and even a desktop plant light which is perfect for office plants.
Maintaining a even temperature is ideal for your houseplants during the winter, allowing for only minimal fluctuations from day to night (try to maintain an approximate temperature of 18 ° C give or take a few degrees.) Also, be cognizant of your plants on drafty window sills or in cold foyers. These plants will suffer the most from cold outside temperatures. But also be sure to move plants away from heat sources like floor registers and fireplaces to avoid them drying out.
As mentioned above, houseplants will slow their growth down significantly during the winter and therefore you can put a hold on their fertilization for the better part of the winter. Doing otherwise is a waste of your product and can potentially disrupt your plants natural growth cycle. A good rule of thumb is to resume fertilization once you see new growth appear on your plant (typically in February or March here on the coast). We recommend Schultz liquid fertiliser 10-15-10 for most houseplants.
Winter is a pretty quiet time of the year for your houseplants. It is not recommended that you re-pot or take cuttings from them for propagation. Keep an eye-out for potential problems such as overwatering by looking for signs of fungus gnats (look similar to fruit flies but they lay eggs in soil) or excessive dryness by checking for crispy tips of leaves. If you spot any fallen leaf matter or rotting stems in your plants, be sure to remove them ASAP as well as this increases the chances of fungus developing.
All in all, if you generally follow these steps you will make it through the doldrums of winter with happy houseplants. And, since it's a little grey outside these days we want to invite you to enjoy 30% off indoor plants, all sizes! So if you have your eye on something special at the store, now is the time to add them to your collection! Sale runs November 29th to December 2nd.
Cheers - Heather Youl