Follow these tips to care for your indoor plants in the winter

Cold weather, humid conditions, and heating are great threats to houseplants. However, with a few tips of care they can get through the winter without problems.

Last update: December 25, 2021

Despite being protected from external climatic hostility, indoor plants in the winter require specific care. This is due to certain conditions typical of the coldest season of the year. Also, some common strategies for keeping the home warm can be detrimental to them.

Sudden changes in temperature, extreme cold or the least amount of daily light are some of the obstacles they have to face. For many species, this is a low-growth season.

But nevertheless, avoiding winter stress leaves them well prepared for the spring bloom. Caring for indoor plants in the winter is easier by following a series of recommendations.

Risks for indoor plants in the winter

This is a delicate time for plants, which require certain extra care to help overcome the hostile climate. Some of these situations are typical of winter and can put the health of the indoor garden at risk:

  • Temperature: It’s not just extreme cold that harms indoor plants in the winter. Also the sudden changes in temperature, generated by the strong daily heating and its absence at night.
  • Dry air: Another characteristic of the winter months is that the air is drier compared to spring and summer; something that harms plants.
  • Short days: days are shorter in winter, which translates to fewer hours of sunlight.
  • Humidity: the substrate tends to dry faster in these months, due to the low level of humidity that circulates in the home, which drops to 10-20%. In general, plants require an average of 50%.

7 tips for caring for your indoor plants in the winter

Maintaining plant health during the colder months of the year is not a complex task, but it does require paying attention to certain details. Although there are some general guidelines, it is advisable to review the specific care of each species.

A good way to determine what each one needs is to know the growing conditions they have in nature. Especially during the cold months.

For example, a tropical species is not the same as a jungle or temperate species. Get as close as possible to these environmental conditions at home is the best way to care for your indoor plants in the winter.

Conserving moisture in winter is vital for certain plants that are tropical.

1. Find sunlight

Finding the spaces in the home where more natural light enters is a fundamental measure during the cold season. Plants must be moved to that area, being careful not to leave them exposed to blasts of freezing air. You also have to turn them so that they receive light in their entirety, which prevents some branches from stretching more than others.

In case it is still insufficient, there are artificial lights that can help. For example, horticultural lamps or fluorescent tubes.

2. Check humidity levels

As already mentioned, humidity levels tend to drop indoors during winter. This directly affects many species of plants that require a medium or high amount.

It is possible to avoid these damages in several ways:

  • Evaluation: inserting a wooden toothpick or a finger into the soil works to know the state of the pot. If it is dry when removing, you have to increase the humidity.
  • Vaporization: vaporizing or spraying the upper parts of the plant with water, as well as keeping the substrate moist, are important measures.
  • Humidifier: To achieve a similar effect there are humidifiers, which emit steam constantly.
  • Moving: Another strategy is to move the plants to the parts of the home where more moisture circulates. For example, the bathroom or the kitchen.
  • Tray with water: Placing the pots in a tray with water generates constant humidification. However, they should not be in direct contact, as it harms the roots.

3. Reduce watering

Generally speaking, indoor plants in the winter require lower levels of irrigation. It is about striking a balance between the lack of humidity and the least need for water. Excessive watering can rot the roots or generate diseases derived from ponds, such as the appearance of fungi.

It is worth remembering that, according to each type of plant, the needs vary. Some species, such as cacti and their derivatives, withstand drought better, while tropical species require sporadic watering, even in winter.

4. Stay away from heating

One of the biggest threats to plants at this time is the use of heaters. It is important to keep them away from stoves, ovens and radiators, so that they do not suffer sudden changes in temperature.

You should try to regulate the environment so that the climate oscillates between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. Especially at night, when the heating devices are usually turned off.

5. Limit the use of fertilizers

Many houseplants in the winter slow down or stop their growth. For this reason, the application of fertilizers is not necessary, although it is possible towards the end of the season. In this way, they are prepared for the spring growing season.

6. Pruning and transplantation

Some people take the opportunity to prune and transplant their internal gardens. Not all species need it, so it is important to review each case. Vines, for example, are favored with pruning on the eve of spring.

7. Pest control

It is common to think that, because they are indoors, the plants are not exposed to pests. However, the winter months favor the appearance of some. For example, mites, fungus gnats, and spider mites, among other.

Do not stop reviewing this aspect. If necessary, apply polyvalent insecticides. In the case of fungi, placing sodium bicarbonate diluted in water, both on the leaves and on the ground, helps to combat the situation.

Pests can be more frequent in winter, when lower humidity and heat from radiators improve their survival conditions.

Important details to take care of your indoor plants in the winter

It is important pay attention to the water temperature when watering them. It does not have to be too cold and, if possible, it does not contain chlorine. It is advisable to get demineralized water.

Keeping the leaves clean by dusting them increases the reception of sunlight.

On the other hand, avoid moving them too much. Despite the fact that certain moves have the objective of getting more natural light or humidity, constant commuting can stress them out. Many people tend to take them out into the garden during the day and bring them back in at night. However, constant movement is counterproductive.

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