Indoor Plants in Winter


Image by dropStock courtesy iStock.

It's a lament I hear almost every winter. A friend or client has been caring for their indoor plant with perfect consistency only to have it suddenly start to show signs of decline. It turns out, despite how controlled our indoor climates are, plants still recognize the change of the season with the top two factors being reduced daylight and reduced humidity. With that in mind, here are some tips for keeping your house plants cozy and content as we move toward winter.


Into the Mist

Many of our indoor plants are tropical species, so humidity is vital to their health and happiness. With heaters and radiators running in the winter, indoor moisture is at an all-time low. I recommend investing in a humidifier (if you have the space) or hand mister to help combat the dryness. Note that misting needs to be done daily to truly have an impact, and don't worry, you can't overdo it in winter. Of course, this protocol doesn't apply to arid-climate plants, such as cacti, succulents, or euphorbia, which prefer to stay dry.


Let There Be Light

Shorter days definitely have an impact on an indoor plant's ability to photosynthesize and grow, and those lower light spots in your home might not cut it during the winter months. If you notice your plant starting to go yellow, or drop leaves, try moving it to a sunnier spot to make up for the lost daylight hours.


Beware of Extremes

Big swings in temperature are bad news for indoor plants. Keep them away from vents, drafty windows and doors, and radiators, all of which can kill off indoor plants.


Slow it Down

Since your indoor plants won't be doing much growing, there's no need to try to encourage them with plant food or pruning. Let the fertilizer take a back seat until spring and hold off on taking cuttings and clipping, too. Think of this as your indoor plants "off season."