Plant Care: Winter Is Coming
With the changing seasons, it's important to make sure our planty babies are prepared. We've got some tips to make sure you are feeling confident and ready, even when the temperatures drop!
OUR #1 RULE FOR PLANT SURVIVAL THROUGH WINTER:
Humidity! Humidity! HUMIDITY!!
As temperatures drop, our heaters come on! This dramatically reduces the humidity, or moisture, in the air. Make sure your babies are not being hit directly by the new air flow. It's also a great time to add a humidifier to the mix, helping both your plants and you as our air dries out!
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.
Some leaf drop can be normal!
Many of our planty babies are entering a period known as dormancy. 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 more 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? 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, so revisit your watering routine!
Just like fertilizer, your plants are used to less water during the colder season. This means watering as often as you were over the Summer could drown your baby! A good rule of thumb is to cut your watering in half; instead of watering once a week, change it to once every 2 weeks. This way your plantitas will survive the winter and come back even stronger next year!
*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.