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Tips – Adjust Your Houseplant Care During Winter

by: Ann Wied
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to adjust your plant care routine. Winter is when most houseplants are in their yearly resting or dormant period.  During winter, houseplants are also exposed to lower humidity and warmer daytime and cooler nighttime temperatures.

Temperature.   Nearly all-indoor plants will do just fine in rooms where daytime temperatures are as high as 75 degrees F and evening temperatures are cool, but most indoor plants do not like a sudden drop in temperature. Be sure to seal window cracks (to avoid drafts), move plants off windowsills during sub-zero weather, and not place plants near a heating vent.

Watering.    Watering your houseplants two to three times a month is usually sufficient during winter since growth slows down and may even stop.   During winter, cacti and succulents go into semi-dormancy so water only to prevent the plants from shriveling up.

Fertilization and Repotting.  Fertilizing in winter is generally not recommended for most houseplants.  Plants should be fertilized when they are actively growing which is during late spring, summer and early fall. Repotting is also not recommended in winter.  The best time to repot a houseplant is usually in early spring.

HumidityHome heating systems can produce very dry air during the cold winter months.  Very few plants like such dry conditions, but cacti and succulents, which are native to deserts, can tolerate these low humidity levels.  You can increase the humidity around your plants.  The easiest way is with a cool-vapor humidifier. This will increase humidity levels by twenty-five to thirty percent.  Another option is to grow plants in a waterproof tray with an inch of pebbles, crushed rock, or sand.   Add water up to but not above the level of stony material.  Make sure the pots do not sit in water or the plants risk getting root rot.   Misting to increase humidity is not recommended.

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