With winter in full swing, humans are not the only ones who will feel the days getting shorter and the nights getting chillier. Plants are also affected by environmental changes in the temperature and humidity, even when they are kept inside the house. This means that certain plant care routines need to be adjusted during colder months to keep taking good care of our green living companions.
Here are some of our top tips for keeping your favourite plants healthy and happy during the winter!
Give less water
Shorter days with fewer hours of sunlight induce plants in a state of dormancy during colder months. Light directly correlates with a plant’s water usage, which means that plants need less water in winter. Adjust your regular watering routine to ensure your plants don’t suffer from root rot as a result of overwatering. Reduce the amount of water you give plants each time or wait an extra day or two between sessions.
Extremely drought-tolerant plants such as cacti and certain succulents may not need to be watered at all! You can make the watering routine easier by grouping together plants with similar hydration needs. Another important tip is not to water your plants early in the morning or late at night since plants are more prone to fungal diseases and growth problems if their roots are wet during this time. It’s also a good idea to use room temperature water to prevent shocking the roots with water that is too cold or too warm.
Regulate the temperature
Fluctuating temperatures can be traumatising for plants. To avoid unnecessary stress on your plants, try to regulate the temperature in their environments as much as possible — ideally around 18-23°C during the day and not below 10°C at night. Keep plants away from sources of extreme cold or heat such as an open window or a fireplace, radiator or heater. Plants such as the ZZ Plant, Mother in Law’s Tongue, Jade Plant and most succulents are known to be quite hardy during winter thanks to their ability to withstand colder temperatures.
Provide enough natural light
Your plants still need plenty of natural light to help them stay healthy. With the sun rising later, setting earlier and rays hitting the earth at a lower angle, you need to go the extra mile to ensure your plants are receiving enough natural light from the sun. The sun rays are also more spread out, which means that the amount of energy in each given sunspot is less than usual. Relocate your indoor plants to brighter spots around the house and rotate the pots every couple of days to make sure the plant evenly receives light.
Be careful not to place plants in window sills with frosty windows — this will be too cold and can be detrimental for your plants! Rather opt for south-or west-facing windows that receive warmer sunlight throughout the day. If you have trouble finding consistent natural light for your plants, another option is using artificial light such as LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient and radiate less heat. If you are leaving home for a couple of days and wonder what to do with your plants, it’s better to move them away from direct light during this period to encourage them to use less water and stay hydrated for longer.
Raise the humidity levels
The decreased humidity levels during winter prove to be quite a challenge for plants, especially in homes that are artificially heated. A simple fix is to use a humidifier that will increase levels of humidity, although there are several other techniques you can try to keep your plants thriving. One way to do this is by moving plants to areas of the house that are naturally more humid, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Grouping plants together will also aid in raising humidity through the water that plants naturally release through their leaves.
Some people place their plants in or near a tray of water to increase humidity. This method works well as long as the plants aren’t submerged in water, but rather elevated above the tray to prevent overwatering, which may lead to root rot. The same principle applies to misting plants, which is a good technique for temporarily increasing moisture levels, although this moisture quickly evaporates and may cause other problems related to a surplus in water.
Put a pause on fertilisation
Most plants tend to grow slower during the winter. This is a good time to let your plants rest without fussing too much or expecting them to double in size! Remember that plants will often drop their leaves or appear a bit unhealthier than during summer, but this is fairly normal considering the decrease in natural light. Rather wait until spring before fertilising your plants to avoid disrupting their natural growing cycles.
That being said, it is still important to maintain your plants’ health and keep an eye out for any obvious problems. Indoor plants accumulate dust as a result of indoor pollution, and this is often accelerated during the winter when windows are closed more often than during warmer months. Clean your indoor plants by using a moist cloth to gently wipe the dirt-build up from leaves and trim any overgrown branches to help your plants look healthier, cleaner, and bushier. Check out We The Wild’s Leaf Health Kit.
Did you enjoy this plant care guide? Take a look at the Natures Colours blog for more tips and tricks on how to best care for your plants!
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