The winter is a challenging time for humans and houseplants alike. For two-legged beings, there comes perpetual uninvited slush seeping into our boots, dampening our socks, and the tedious task of chipping away at icy windshields.
At least we’re self-sufficient, though. For houseplants, the codependent winter struggle is strong. Right around Thanksgiving, you’ll likely notice your plants getting droopy as their leaves begin yellowing. Many of them will die. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
We’ve created a guide to caring for your houseplants in the winter that is as straightforward as it is foolproof. Read on for tips on revitalizing and keeping your houseplants alive and thriving all winter long.
1. Cut back on the water
According to Pistils Nursery, too much watering in the winter is a surefire way to get yellowing leaves, moldy soil, and weird bugs flying around your houseplants.
It’s advised to cut the frequency of watering in half during the winter months, or just to follow your intuition by only watering your plants when they look thirsty. Over-watering has no place in a frigid environment. Remember, less is more.
2. Be mindful of humidity
Low humidity is a houseplant’s nightmare and possibly the biggest hurdle that must be addressed during the winter. According to The Spruce, the humidity level of a home drops about 10 to 20% in the winter — plants thrive in a level closer to 50%.
If you have a humidifier, move your plants nearby so they can reap the benefits. If you don’t, consider moving your plants to the bathroom or kitchen, so they can be moistened by steamy showers and boiling pots of water.
3. Seal up your windows
Like many of us, plants are sensitive to cold air. It’s important to make sure that your windows are sealed and ventilated in the winter, especially for windowsill sitting houseplants. If there’s any chance of cold air seeping in, it’s probably best to move your plants away from that drafty sill.
4. Follow the sun
Because there’s less sunlight during the winter and it comes through windows at a different angle, this is a good time to relocate your houseplants to sunnier spots. If your windows aren’t cutting it, Pistils Nursery suggests replacing incandescent bulbs with full-spectrum lights or rigging up some grow lights.
5. Put fertilizer aside
People who reside in more mild climates can continue to fertilize plants through winter — and the same might apply for households with a humidifier. However, according to Bio Advanced, in colder settings with low natural light levels, fertilization should be halted. Think of it this way: Plants aren’t growing in the frigidity, so they’re not going to need a whole lot of food. Normal fertilization can be resumed in the spring.