Gardeners often move potted plants indoors when the weather becomes cool. This can be a good technique, as long as a few steps are taken to ensure that indoor plants remain healthy and vigorous throughout the season. Here are a few tips for how to care for houseplants in winter.
Humidity in homes during winter tends to be lower than what houseplants would prefer.
- If you have a humidifier, place houseplants nearby.
- If you do not have a humidifier, there are a couple of solutions.
- Group plants together near a damp area such as the shower.
- Place a tray of water below or near the plant. However, make sure the pot is raised above the tray and not soaking the houseplant.
- Move houseplants away from window sills and drafty areas. Many are subtropical and sensitive to cold temperatures.
- Houseplants do not like fluctuating temperature areas either; such as fireplaces, stoves, and heat vents.
- The ideal daytime temperature is 65 to 75 degrees F. The ideal nighttime temperature is 50+ degrees F.
- Move the houseplants near windows or areas where sunlight is available.
- Clean off the dust from the leaves monthly. (see Cleaning)
- If needed, use artificial light such as fluorescent bulbs to provide light and heat.
- Ten to fourteen hours of typical fluorescent office-type lighting is considered medium light. High-intensity light occurs within 2 ft. of a south-facing window from Oct. to March.
- Reduce the frequency of watering by half.
- Only water when the soil is dry. Check at least an inch below the surface for dryness.
- Do not water with cold water; use tepid water instead.
- Do not fertilize during winter. Instead, wait until spring to begin fertilizing houseplants.
- Fertilize only if plants show signs of deficiencies.
- Clean the dust off the houseplants at least once a month.
- Use a damp sponge and gently wipe the leaves of the houseplant.
- Treat plants with insecticidal soap before moving them indoors, to ensure that no insects come inside with the plants.
- Pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies can quickly build up in large numbers on plants when they are moved inside. Be vigilant and treat immediately.