banner photo credit: Kevin Lee

With winter upon us, you may have noticed that your houseplants are not quite as happy as they were just a few short months ago. Our indoor plants take a hit in winter because of shorter days, cooler indoor temps (possibly), and lower indoor humidity (most likely!). With less light available, houseplants tend to slow down growth in winter. Read on for a few tips for happier houseplants in winter.

Protect New Plants During Transit

Whether you're getting new plants from an independent shop, a big box store, or an individual, be sure to protect it from the cold while in transit. Place it in a bag (closed, please!), a closed paper plant sleeve, or a closed box. And make the plant shop your last stop before heading home, to minimize the amount of time left in the car. Ar Rooted, we have some very conscinetious customers who bring heir own insulated bags!

Check on Your Plants Living in Windowsills

Make sure your plants’ leaves aren’t touching the windows. If the leaves are in contact with the windows, they could suffer from cold damage. This is especially important for those plants that live on windowsills.  And if you’re in a drafty old building like mine, the windowsills themselves may be very cold.  Last year, I put a layer of cardboard down between the windowsills and my plants.  This year, I moved the plants off of the windowsills entirely to a warmer and sunnier location.

Back Off Watering

Because most plants are not growing as actively in winter as in warmer months, they do not require as much water. They also don’t require fertilizer in winter, so wait until you see new growth in spring to start fertilizing.

Offer More Light

You could rearrange your plants to place them in higher light areas during winter. Or you could get grow lights to supplement the natural light in your home.

Consider Getting a Humidifier

Humidifiers are great for us and for our plants in winter! If your home has forced air, this is especially drying in winter. Your plants (and your skin) will thank you!

Or Go Low Tech with Pebble Trays

A pebble tray will increase the humidity right around the plants they are on.  A pebble tray is simply a tray or saucer with a layer of pea gravel (or similar) covering its surface that you place your plants on. The key is to add enough water to sit just below the bottom of your plants’ pots. 

Check for Pests

In winter our plants are just a bit grumpy and not their healthiest, so they may be more susceptible to pests. Spider mites love dry air, so they’re one to keep an eye out for. Look for very fine webbing on your plant's leaves or stems.

blue star fern houseplant in bathtub

Give Your Plants a Shower

Winter is a great time to give your plants a bath. Dust accumulates on the plant’s leaves over time, which can block light from reaching the plant. Take your plants to the shower and give them a spray down with room temperature water. Wipe the leaves down for extra dusty leaves. If you’re worried about over watering the plants in the shower, wrap the pot with a plastic bag and cinch it around the stems to keep water away from the soil. 

Hang in there! The days are already getting longer. Soon your plants will be pushing out new leaves like crazy!

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