Plant Care: Winter Is Coming
With the changing seasons, it's important to make sure your plants are prepared. Indoor plant experience seasonal changes too, read on to learn more!
OUR #1 RULE FOR PLANT SURVIVAL THROUGH WINTER:
Humidity! Humidity! HUMIDITY!!
As temperatures drop, our heaters come on! This dramatically reduces the humidity, aka moisture in the air which is vital for your tropical plants to thrive. Provide extra support by adding a humidifier near your plants, the extra humidity will be beneficial for you too. Try to aim for 40-60% percent humidity or whatever is comfortable for you and add extra air flow if possible. Also ensure sure your plants are not being hit directly by and heaters or hot air flow.
Pro tip: don't forget to clean the humidifier filter once a month.
Stop! Drop, do not repot!
Temperature changes can be stressful! Add in changing daylight hours and less humidity around the house, and you have some tired houseplants. It is usually best to wait until Spring or Summer to repot, ensuring the environment is working to comfort your plant, instead of stressing them out. However, if your plant needs to be repotted, you should always, always, repot!
Make sure leaves are not touching the windows!
If you're cold, your plants are cold! Press your hand against the window to feel just how impactful temperature changes outside can be. While you still want to make sure each plant gets enough light, move them far enough away from the window pane to stay warm and protect those leaves.
Some leaf drop can be normal!
Many of our planty babies are entering a period known as dormancy (some plants are the opposite, like certain cacti and succulents!). This may mean defoliation, or leaf loss, a natural process to prepare for the cold. It's important for your plant to conserve energy below the soil, keeping their roots warm and healthy. When the weather warms up, they'll push new leaves out! It's a beautiful reward after a chilly season.
Huddle plants for warmth!
Just like us, plants enjoy company. They release just a touch of heat while they photosynthesize. Take advantage by keeping them close to each other, creating localized warmth and humidity. You can also huddle them around yourself, which contributes additional love and tranquility.
Plant metabolism slows down = slower/no growth
Your plant is working hard to conserve energy. This means new growth will be limited, if at all. Remember, your plant is using all it's nutrition to just stay warm! You may also experience winter growth, which can be smaller or sparser than normal. Expect a full comeback in the Spring!
No fertilizer, no need for extra food till Spring!
This is the time of year many of us love our babies to death. In plants native environments, many of our plants would be struggling to receive ample water and nutrients. They've adapted to receiving very little during Winter and making it work. Given these adaptations, additional nutrients may just burn roots that aren't prepared for it. Be patient, your plant will appreciate all the pent up love come Spring!
Certain species go into hibernation!
Did your Caladium or Alocasia lose all their leaves? Or maybe you are the proud owner of a venus fly trap? Some of our most common houseplants go into a period called dormancy, a time to conserve energy until the weather warms up. Bulbs in particular are notorious for disappearing. This means for the next few months, you are the caretaker of a very special pot o' dirt. They still need periodic watering. Stay patient, you'll be rewarded as the weather warms up.
Plants are drinking less... or more, so revisit your watering routine!
This can be a tricky tip but we simply suggest revisiting your watering routine. In some homes, plants may be drinking more as the heaters are turned up while on the other hand, some indoor environments might be more conservative with the heat and it may be more chilly. Simply pay a little extra attention as the temps change and notice any difference in drinking habits.
*Side note and things to keep in mind:
The tips mentioned above are simply that, tips. Use at your discretion and understand the signs of distress your plants may show as you change up your routine. Also, if you have plants in a greenhouse with a humidifier and grow lights that are on a timer, you may be able to totally disregard the above tips because you're already giving the plant everything she needs, no matter the time of year! You know your plants and your environment best.