Keeping houseplants healthy through the winter months can be a little tricky. Shorter day length, lower humidity and temperature fluctuations can add up to tough growing conditions. Follow these simple tips to keep your houseplants in top form all winter:
• Keep your room as bright as possible. Raise blinds and open the curtains during the day
as often as possible. For sun-loving plants such as succulents, consider moving them to a brighter spot or supplement with a grow light to maximize the light they receive.
• Keep room temperature between 60 and 70. Keep plants away from cold windows or drafty doors. Conversely, keep them away from wood stoves and hot air vents. Night time temperatures on the cooler side are best.
• Dry winter air can stress plants. To increase the humidity, group plants together to create a mini pocket of humid space. Mist frequently or if you have a lot of plants, use a room humidifier. Another trick is to place a layer of pebbles in the saucer underneath the plants and pour water over the pebbles. The evaporation will raise the humidity around your plant. Be careful not to let your plant sit in the water, but over top of the pebbles.
• Water and fertilize less. Plants enjoy a time of rest in the winter months, so fertilizing is not necessary. The potting soil should be completely dry before watering. Use tepid water, and water slowly until it seeps out of the drainage holes in the pot.
• Give them a shower. With plants that can be easily moved, bring them to a sink and hose them off with tepid water. This gets rid of dust and small insects such as spider mites and aphids.
When your houseplants are in good shape, you’ll also improve the air quality in your home for houseplants and for yourself.