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Fall & Winter Houseplant Care

December 21, 2020
Written by Aaron

Just because they’re indoors doesn’t mean nothing changes for your houseplants when the seasons change. Even though they’re inside, the shorter days in fall and winter and the indoor climate change when the heating comes on affects your houseplants. 

Almost all houseplants slow down their growth in the fall and winter, and some even have a period of dormancy. When they’re growing more slowly and getting less light than they did in summer, their care needs change as well. 

Here are nine ways to keep your houseplants happy through the fall and winter in Simcoe.

woman watering indoor plants

1) Adjust your watering schedule. Because your plants are growing slower, they won’t be consuming as much water. If you usually water on a set schedule, do a quick check of the soil next time you water. Either test the soil with your finger to see if it feels damp, or use a moisture meter before watering your plants. Some of them probably won’t need it yet. If you have plants in terra cotta pots or small pots, you may need to water them more frequently than usual.

2) Increase the humidity for your plants by clustering them together in groups. Our heating systems tend to dry out the air in our homes, which is hard on plants. If your indoor air is really dry, you can add water trays under your plants, or use a humidifier nearby or keep a humidifier running nearby.

woman cleaning off Monstera plant - wiping down the leaves

3) Clean the leaves of your plants. Another side effect of the furnaces turning on is extra dust in the air, which often settles on the leaves of your plants. Dust can impair their ability to photosynthesize, so wiping it off will help them stay healthier through the winter. 

4) While you’re cleaning leaves, check for pests. Plants are more susceptible to pests in the winter because they’re not growing as quickly and the air is drier. If you find evidence of pests, immediately quarantine your houseplant and start a treatment plan. 

5) With shorter days and the lower angle of the sun, your plants may need more light. You may need to move some of your plants closer to windows or further away from windows if they’re prone to sunburn. You may also want to add some grow lights to supplement the short days.

6) Stop fertilizing your plants in the fall and don’t start again until spring. Because your plants are growing slower right, or not at all right now, they don’t need extra nutrients and minerals. Start fertilizing again once they’ve started to show signs of new growth in the spring. 

indoor plants by a windowsill

7) Plants that aren’t getting enough light may lean towards the windows in the winter. Every time you water, rotate any leaning plants a quarter turn so they start to straighten out. 

8) Houseplants don’t love drafts, whether from the furnace or from windows and doors, and they also don’t love large temperature fluctuations. If your plants are getting lots of drafty air, move them around to places where the temperature and air movement is more consistent. 

9) Let your plants rest through the winter. Avoid fussing with them too much, and don’t do any pruning or repotting, unless absolutely necessary, for the next few months.

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