Winter Care Tips for your Plants!
As for many of us, the winter can be a tough season due to shorter and colder days. The same goes for our plant babies. They are not immune to the cold air drafts or darker days even though they are in a climate controlled home. There are a few things you have to modify about your plant care routine when fall and winter roll around.
Although the air is drier in the winter, plants are not actively growing so they are not absorbing water as quickly nor do they need as much water to survive. Some plants even go dormant so the amount of water they need is much less. All plants have different watering needs so keep that in mind when adjusting your routine. Drought tolerant plants such as snake plants and cacti/succulent varieties may not even need water at all. When filling your watering can make sure the water is not cold as that will shock the roots. Room temperature water will work well with plants all year round.
Living in Chicago, we all experience the dry air and the cold days. During the summer months, because it is so humid outside, it carries into our home. The same goes for winter, especially when the heat in our homes dry out the air even more. Our home can become so dry that the plants feel that affect as well. Using a humidifier will make the world of a difference for your houseplants.
Bringing your plants together can also increase humidity as plants give off moisture from their leaves. Grouping your plants together in the kitchen or the bathroom will benefit them from the boiling water or the steam from the shower.
Using a pebble tray is another good trick to increase your plants' humidity levels. Fill a tray with pebbles/rocks but make sure the plant is not sitting in the water. The water should be just below the pebbles to avoid root rot. Place the plant near or on top of the pebble tray. Refill as necessary.
As fun and satisfying as misting is as a gardener, it is not so beneficial for your plants unless you are doing it multiple times a day. Plant leaves absorb the water very quickly so it is only a temporary fix for a plant's humidity. Humidifiers are highly recommended.
Just as people, plants are comfortable with temperatures between 65-75 Fahrenheit. Avoid keeping your plants close to windows because the drafts can have a rough affect on them during the colder months. Heat sources will also cause your plants to decline so keep away from radiators, fireplaces, ovens, and vents. Fluctuation in temperature can kill houseplants as easily as prolonged periods of cold or heat.
Because winter is not the active growing season for plants, no matter the climate you are in, they will most likely go dormant, meaning they will not need fertilizer. It is like feeding a sleeping baby. Fertilizing your plants will only disturb their dormancy and they most likely will not react well. Avoid feeding your plants until the spring rolls around and you are beginning to notice new growth.
As hard as it is, plants do not need overloving in the winter. Watch out for early signs of pests, spider mites and mealybugs can surely make an appearance while they are dormant. Treat as you would any other time of the year, using Captain Jack's DeadBug Brew. Avoid repotting and taking cuttings from your plants in the winter.
In the winter, the sun's angles get lower so you may need to move your plants into a brighter spot. There are also less hours of sun during those months so adding artificial light can benefit your plants. Finding the spot in your home that receives the most sunlight is important to keep your plants happy while they rest. Rotate your plants every time you water them to ensure they stay even.