How to Winterize your House Plants

How to Winterize your House Plants

Chris
4 minute read

There are many environmental changes that occur in the fall and winter times that can affect your house plants. Cooler temperatures, shortened days, decreased amount of daily sunlight and the kind of heating you have in your home are all factors that need to be considered when adjusting your plant care routine to winterize your plants. In this article, we will provide care tips to help ensure that your house plants stay happy even through the dark winter months.

 

a photo of a person surrounded by house plants and holding a snake plant

Acclimate

This is for those who grow their plants outdoors in the spring and summer. To be safe, start bringing in your tender tropical foliage plants when the temperatures dip below 15 ° C overnight. Succulents can be left out a little longer. In fact, cool temperatures will cause stress and will bring out some beautiful colouration in succulents, but bring them in when overnight temperature drops below 10° C. Air plants can be brought indoors when the temperature drops under 9° C overnight.


Temperature

Bearing in mind that your house plants are tropical and not frost-hardy, be sure to keep them a safe distance away from any cold space and drafty windows as they are at risk of frost damage. This normally occurs when tropical foliage plants are left leaning against a windowsill. When your plants are exposed to extremely cold temperatures, frost damage appears in the form of blackening leaves. If you do experience this, prune back any damaged leaves and relocate your plant.

 

a photo of house plants under a grow lamps

Sunlight

You may need to be strategic with the placement of your house plants, prioritizing the plants that you know require a lot of sunlight to survive, such as succulents which are prone to etiolation in low lighting conditions. Alternatively, you can look at purchasing supplementary lighting for the darker months to ensure that your plants do not become etiolated.

 

a photo of numerous house plants in a room with a humidifier

Humidity

Tropical house plants require a minimum of 50-60% relative room humidity levels to stay happy. Some tender or exotic tropicals can require more. Many Canadian homes tend to be on the dry side during winter, especially if your home uses radiator heating. Be sure to keep your plants a safe distance away from direct heat sources and find ways to effectively increase humidity for them. Pebble trays, grouping plants, using enclosed structures or humidifiers are all great ways to increase humidity for your house plants. Signs that your house plants are not getting enough humidity are browning and/or crisping leaf tips.

Watering

Shortened days, lack of light and heat will cause soil to dry out much slower. Therefore, you will need to cut back on watering during the fall and winter months. If you were watering your plants once a week in the spring or summer, you may want to cut back to once every 9 – 12 days. Just continue to check soil dryness and keep track of how many days it takes your house plant’s soil to dry out in between watering. You can cut back watering succulents to just once or twice a month maximum. Air plants can be soaked less with an increase of misting in between waterings.

Fertilizing

If you manually fertilize your plants, you’ll want to stop until next Spring. The goal of winterizing your house plants is simply to give them enough care to make it through the winter. Minimal growth and in some plants, dormancy, will occur during the colder months. Some plants, such as certain species of cacti, require a dormancy period in order to flower in the spring. You can resume fertilizing in the springtime when your plants start producing new growth.

 

Repotting

During this time, avoid causing any extra stress to your plants, including repotting them. Your house plants will have a harder time bouncing back from stress in the winter months. If possible, hold off on repotting until the springtime.

 

a photo is succulents on window sill

 

Plant care changes with the seasons and when you have a basic understanding of your plants' care requirements, you’ll be able to provide them with the conditions they need to live a happy life. Just think of fall and winter as your plant’s resting period. Some plants may seem to not be growing at all, and some may even drop several leaves. Just continue on with your plant care routine and your house plants will bounce right back once spring comes around. Happy growing!




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