Tips + Tricks

8 Simple Ways to Winterize Your Indoor Plants

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These simple tips help to make the transition from summer to autumn, to winter easier for your indoor plants. These tips can also be used to help plants that generally live outside during the warmer temps an easier transition indoors.

Photo by Evelin Horvath on Unsplash

1. Water Less

During the winter, sunlight hours dwindle. As your plant receives less light, you generally will not need to keep up with your summer watering schedule. Plants are also not actively growing during the winter months like they are in spring and summer. Because of slower growth, less water is needed.

If you’re unsure of whether or not your plant needs a drink, gently poke your finger into the soil. If your finger comes out of the soil clean, your plant is thirsty. If your finger comes out of the soil damp, your plant can wait a little longer for a drink. This simple technique can be used year-round as well and can save you money on items like moisture meters.

2. Dropped Leaves are Normal

Due to your plants receiving less sunlight and not actively growing, some leaves dropping is normal. This is normal whether leaves drop from your outdoor plants coming inside, or your indoor plants just adjusting to the change of seasons.

3. Watch out for Drafts and Vents

Not only do plants receive less sunlight and temporarily slow down their growth, but sudden or extreme changes in temperature can be harmful. Be sure to check your windows and doorways and catch any drafts early. Likewise, avoid placing plants on items like radiators, as well as away from vents.

4. Let Your Plants Hibernate

Remember earlier how I mentioned that plant growth tends to slow down during the winter months? This means you can pause giving your plant fertilizer. When your plants are not activity growing, like in the spring and summer, giving extra, unneeded, fertilizer can cause more harm than good to your plants.

5. Watch out for Pests

If you’re anything like me or a new plant parent, winter is prime time for pests like spider mites, aphids, and scale. These pests prefer warm, dry environments, which is what your home becomes during the winter months. This can be more of an issue with plants coming inside, however, indoor plants are just as susceptible.

Cleaning your plant’s leaves with a solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol to 5 parts water in a spray bottle with a couple of drops of dish soap will help keep pests away. Rubbing alcohol, at least 70%, is a great way to control pests before they become a problem. If pests have managed to become a bigger problem, consider trying an insecticidal soap or neem oil.

6. Clean The Leaves

Once you’ve made the solution mentioned above, be sure to use it to clean your leaves regularly. A plant’s leaves are how a plant uses the sunlight it needs to continue growing and producing more leaves. It is more important to keep your plant’s leaves clean during the winter months, as there is less sunlight. This simple, but often overlooked step can help to maximize the amount of sunlight your plant can soak up.

7. Increase Humidity

Most indoor plants, like succulents or other tropical plants, enjoy having higher humidity all year round. Winter is especially important as not only do the temperatures drop, but the air becomes drier. If you don’t already use humidifiers in your home to help increase the humidity for your plants, consider adding one.

Grouping many of your plants together is another simple way to increase humidity. Water evaporating from the soil will help to naturally raise the humidity level around your plants.

8. Resist Repotting

When plants become dormant in the cooler months, repotting them suddenly can shock them. It is best to avoid the urge to repot them until they are actively growing again, such as in spring or summer.

If you really feel the urge to repot your indoor plants, consider getting some starting seeds.

Overall, winterizing your plants doesn’t need to be overwhelming or complicated. By ensuring that your plants stay warm and don’t succumb to overwatering, you can enjoy a dormant winter followed by an active spring and summer. Keeping your plant care simple in the winter, will lead to your plants thanking you in the long run.