Summary: Caring for indoor plants during winter is different than other “indoor” seasons of the year – light, watering, fertilizer are all different. Prepare and Care – for your indoor plants for winter.
Question: Can you give me some tips on – How to care for indoor plants during winter?
Do I care for them the same way? I have some plants on the patio and need to bring them in for the winter months. Last year they lost a lot of leaves, some died, most struggled. Any tips to make the transition less dramatic? Mariley, Kansas City, Missouri
Answer: Mariley, one important factor in caring for your houseplants is matching and maintaining the plant’s needs to its indoor environment – even as the season changes.
How To Provide More Lighting for Indoor Plants During Winter
- Fluorescent Grow Lights
- Incandescent Lighting
As the light source and intensity changes and/or decreases in winter you may need to consider possible additional light sources, light intensity, temperature, and the total room environment.
Most indoor plants can handle some changes, but each plant has its own individual cultural requirements, and minor adjustments may need to be made during the winter.
For example: Does the watering cycle change when the heat comes on?
All plants require some light. Generally, flowering plants prefer stronger light; foliage plants will tolerate very low light conditions. Keep that in mind when moving plants around during the holidays. Read – Houseplants for Low medium and high light conditions.
Avoid placing plants such as Aglaonema Silver Queen (Chinese evergreen) near direct sources of hot or cold drafts. A sudden change of temperature from opening doors, windows, furnace ducts, wood stoves, etc. can cause damage to the plant.
This damage may not show up right away. Good News… There are some new Aglaonema varieties that do not have that problem!
You may want to consider house plants that handle cooler temperatures.
Now is a good time to give your plants a cleaning. Over time indoors the leaves accumulate dust.
This slow accumulation of dust does its share to diffuse and block light. Remember not to – scrub – the leaves but use a sponge dampened thoroughly with room temperature water and wipe the leaves clean.
Don’t forget to wipe the undersides of the leaves also, a favorite hideout for pests like mealybug – remember you can use natural chemicals like Neem to handle pests.
Check Plants For Pests
Speaking of pests, this also presents the perfect opportunity to check for any insect pests that might be present, look under the leaves as well as in the soil area.
And if, for example, you detect mites or aphids, add a little soap to the water, as it will help suffocate them. You can also contact your local garden center and ask them what they recommend for pests.
Most plants have a natural luster to their leaves and we’re not too big on leaf polish as continued use tends to block the plant “pores” and reduces the plant’s natural transpiration rate, inhibiting its ability to absorb pollutants in the atmosphere. I know that sounded real technical.
Basically, the houseplants can’t breathe.
Although I don’t recommend fertilizing plants indoors – If you do – cut back a bit on your fertilizer regimen, as the growth rate tends to slow a bit under lower light conditions.
Remember, you might need to move some of your plants that have higher light requirements to other areas. You’ll know which ones if they start “stretching” toward their light source.
As the heat comes on in your house, you may find areas that may dry your plants out quicker. Keep an eye out and adjust your watering accordingly. Remember – Not Too Much.
Speaking of the holidays, poinsettias have always been the Christmas plant.