5 Tips to Keep Indoor Plants Alive This Winter
Many of us think of gardening and plant care as a sunny, warm-weather activity. After all, colder temperatures and fewer hours of sunlight can make it more difficult for plants to thrive during the winter months. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible—it just means your indoor greenery needs some extra TLC. Read on for some tips to keep your indoor plants happy and healthy this winter.
Tip #1: Keep Your Indoor Plants Warm
Like humans, most plants feel the most comfortable in daytime temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures above 50 degrees. Keep plants away from drafty areas, and/or seal your windows and doors to provide extra insulation and warmth.
You don’t want your plants to be too warm, either, so keep them away from heating vents, space heaters, ovens, fireplaces, electronic devices, and anything else that might give your plant the occasional blast of hot air. Cold temperatures can be harmful to plants, but fluctuations in temperature can be just as detrimental.
Tip #2: Increase Your Home’s Humidity
During the winter months, you likely notice changes in your skin as you require more lotion than usual. Plants, like humans, can also feel the effects of the dryness in the air.
Most plants tend to thrive in environments with 50-60 percent humidity. With some homes having humidity levels as low as 35 percent, you and your plants can definitely benefit from an extra boost of humidity.
If you have a humidifier, position it so that it’s close to your plants. Alternatively, try clustering plants near the bathroom or kitchen so they can absorb moisture in the air from showers or cooking activities. You may also want to try placing your plants on or near a tray of water. Don’t soak your plants, though—place the pot or planter on stones or pebbles, and it will be able to absorb humidity as the water evaporates.
Tip #3: Provide Plenty of Light
You may have the right temperature and humidity levels in your home, but without sufficient sunlight, your plants are bound to suffer. Move your plants to a south or west-facing window so they can absorb plenty of sunlight (but make sure that window isn’t too drafty).
Each time you water your plants, rotate them about one-quarter of a turn so they can receive even light distribution. It’s also a good idea to keep your windows clean to allow as much sunshine as possible.
If access to sunshine is lacking in your home, you can try supplementing with artificial light. You don’t need anything too fancy; a standard bulb can likely do the trick. Just keep in mind that artificial light is less intense than direct sunlight, so your plants will need more consistent exposure.
Tip #4: Keep Your Indoor Plants Clean
Because sunshine is the most important nutrient for plants, you’ll want to make sure your plants are able to absorb as much light as possible. Layers of dust can reduce light absorption, so by keeping plants clean and dust-free, you’re helping them photosynthesize more efficiently.
Every so often, use a damp towel to gently wipe dust and debris from your plants’ leaves. You can also give them a light, misty shower with a handheld sprayer… or, with larger plants, you can even place them in the tub for a legitimate shower.
Tip #5: Don’t Overwater Your Indoor Plants
With the dryness in the winter air, it may seem logical to water your plants more than usual to keep them hydrated. However, most plants actually need less water in the winter. This is because they’re receiving less sunlight, meaning photosynthesis is slower—it’s almost like they enter a “hibernation” phase.
Before you water your plants, use a finger to check whether the soil is dry. Many plant owners recommend weekly watering with half (or less) of the amount of water you would usually use. Otherwise, you run the risk of moldy, rotting plants.
Additionally, be sure to avoid using cold water to water your plants, as this could shock the roots. Instead, use warm (but not hot) water to keep your plants warm and encourage healthy growth.
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