The summer has passed and you’ve kept your houseplants alive during the hottest months of the year. Bravo! Now we’re entering the darker, colder half of the year, which means you need a new strategy for keeping your lovely houseplants in tip-top shape.
With that in mind, here are 6 tips from MindBodyGreen to help you care for your houseplants now that it’s sweater weather.
Note any lighting changes: The way sunlight enters your space changes with the seasons, so you might need to move your plants to a new location in your home. For instance, if your plant is near a window that was shaded by a tree, the sun rays will now be more intense once the leaves fall. However, if your plants are spending more time in the shadow now that it’s autumn, you may need to bring your houseplants closer to windows. After you move your houseplants to a new location, give them a week or two to acclimate before judging how they like it.
Cool it with the fertilizer: Fall and winter are dormant seasons, which means many houseplants aren’t going to be doing much growing until the weather warms up. For that reason, you don’t need to feed your houseplants with fertilizer during the colder months.
Cut back on waterings: As we mentioned in the previous tip, your plants won’t be growing much during cooler months. Therefore, they also require less water. Landscaper Joyce Mast recommends you ditch your regular watering schedule and perform a simple touch test instead to know when to water your plants. “Simply push your finger down into the soil about 1 to 3 inches, depending on pot size, to feel if the soil is damp,” says Mast. “If you feel moisture, do not water. If it is dry, water your plants until it flows freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.”
Mind the heater: When we turn on our heaters, we also dry out our home’s air. Providing mist to your plants and topsoil is a great way to give back some moisture. You can also place your plants near a humidifier. It should be noted that plants with fuzzier leaves, like African violets and succulents, don’t like getting wet and shouldn’t be misted.
Move plants away from drafty windows: Houseplants tend to be sensitive to extreme temperature dips, which is why you’ll want to move them away from drafty windows that allow cold air to leak through.
Bring your outside plants in: Should you have outdoor plants too, it’s a good idea to bring them inside once nighttime temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Once inside, make sure to check your plants closely for little critters or fallen debris that might have settled in. If you do find plant pests or spot telltale signs of an infestation, it’s a good idea to give the plant a shower to wash them off. You can also consider spraying the plants with antifungal Neem oil to keep them from coming back.