HOW TO CARE FOR INDOOR PLANTS DURING WINTER MONTHS
For avid gardeners, growing plants indoors during winter provides us with a greenery satisfaction all year long. For house plants, late autumn enters them into a dormant phase due to the decreasing light levels. This happens so the plants can prepare for the winter season and rest. Most homes become too cool and dry for indoor plants to thrive. Although it’s important to water and feed them, too much can be dangerous as their growth can be under strain from colder conditions. You need to give your plants that all important time to rest so they have the energy to grow in the spring
As the lack of sunlight and dry temperatures make it harder to keep indoor plants healthy in winter, gardening expert at myjobquote.co.uk, Samantha Jones, has shared her top tips.
1. Reduce watering
Dormant plants need very little water. If the plants are overwatered, they’ll either rot as water amasses in the compost or produce soft, weak growth. Make sure to test more than the top of the soil, some need to be dried out before being watered again, go down a few inches to see if the soil is dry. To avoid damage, reduce watering to once every fortnight. The only exception is winter-flowering plants such as poinsettias which need watering as and when the compost feels dry.
2. Regularly clean their leaves
Indoor plants can gather a thick layer of household dust on their leaves over time. This limits the amount of light that can reach the surface area, making it harder for them to produce food. Using a damp cloth, wipe off the dust every morning or stand the plant in a luke-warm shower for five minutes every week.
3. Check for insects
A warm house is the perfect environment for plant pests, such as thrips, to breed over the winter. Inspect your plants each day by looking above and under the leaves. Do this thoroughly if you are bringing any plants inside after spending the summer outdoors. Maintaining the checks will reduce pests thriving on your plants.
4. Keep them warm
Most house plants need a temperature of 12-18 degrees. Each plant can differ as they come in a wide variety of colours, sizes, and shapes. Ensure you know the ideal temperate for the plants you own and keep an eye on your thermostat. Position them away from cold draughts or open windows. If they are sitting on a windowsill, leave the curtains open as they trap cold air at night.
5. Group plants together
Grouping your house plants together will raise the humidity level around them. This will help them thrive in similar conditions and for some, can form their own mini biome. Either move the pots closer together or put similar plants in the same pot. This also makes it easier to tend to them.
6. Move into the light
With shorter days, it’s vital to maximise the amount of light that reaches your plants. If you can, move them into a sunny porch so they can benefit from the light in different directions. If this isn’t an option, move your plants onto a south facing windowsill and ensure your windows are regularly cleaned.
7. Alter humidity levels
Low humidity levels can be a big issue for houseplants. In heated homes, the humidity levels can drop to 10 to 20% in winter, plants thrive closer to 50 percent. If you do have a humidifier, move your plants to a spot where they will enjoy the benefits of it. If you don’t, you can move your plants to bathrooms and kitchens as they accumulate the most moisture from showers and boiling water. You could also place your plants on or near a tray of water, never directly in it. Place the pebbles in a tray to raise the bottom of the pots above the water level and place the pots on the top.