It can be difficult to keep houseplants alive during the winter months, especially when you live in cold, often snowy, Canada. Days are shorter, temperatures are lower, and there’s less sunlight — all of which make it harder to keep your potted plants thriving.
But despite the blizzards and snow outside, it’s possible to keep your plants thriving throughout the season. It just takes a little modification to your routine, and a little extra care and attention, and you can have gorgeous plants all year round!
1. Cut back on watering
Cooler temperatures and less sunlight means your plants need less water than in the hot summer. Even though the air is often drier your plants will naturally experience less growth, and their water intake adjusts accordingly. Overwatering leads to problems like root rot, and can often be fatal to your green friends.
Wait until the top soil is completely dry, then (gently) poke a finger in and see if the soil beneath seems dry. If so, it’s time for more water. As general guidelines, most plants will only need to be watered every fortnight. Succulents will likely need water every 2 to 3 weeks, and leave any cactus alone.
2. Provide sunlight (or an alternative)
While your plants are growing less, they still need sunlight. Keep them happy and healthy by providing a source of natural sunlight, if possible. But as daylight grows more scarce, you might want to consider grow lights or even an indoor fluorescent bulb. Both can provide simulated light to your plants.
3. But avoid extreme temperatures
Extreme temperatures, cold or hot, are bad for your plants during the winter. In cooler climates, make sure they keep them away from any drafts or direct heat sources that could dry out soil. Furnaces, fireplaces, and poorly insulated windows can all cause drastic changes in temperature that could damage fragile plants.
4. Put a pause on fertilizer
Just like your plants need less water in winter, they don’t need to be fertilized either. Continuing on your regular schedule could leave them weak and vulnerable to disease. Instead, focus on providing adequate light and water, along with proper pruning techniques.
5. Keep it humid
Winter air isn’t only colder, it’s often more dry. So, to help your indoor plants thrive you’ll want to add a little humidity to the space. One of the most effective methods is to group houseplants together. When multiple plants are placed close together, they create their own microclimate which helps to reduce transpiration and maintain moisture around them.
You can also mist the leaves regularly with water or use a humidifier to increase the ambient humidity levels in your home. Both will help prevent dry air from sucking all the moisture out of your plants’ leaves and soil.
6. Keep foliage clean
A buildup of dust, dirt and other debris can lead to fungal diseases in plants or leave them dehydrated. To help keep foliage clean, regularly wipe down leaves with a damp cloth or use a vacuum cleaner set on its lowest speed. Additionally, check for pests like spider mites or aphids which are common in indoor environments and can damage leaves if left unchecked.
7. Don’t repot them
Because their growth has slowed, you want to avoid repotting your plants. Limit your repotting to the beginning of March, unless their soil is degraded or the growth of the plant is compromised because of the root system.
What plants thrive in the winter?
If you live in a place where winter is the longest season, you might want to consider focusing your gardening efforts on plants that thrive in the cooler temperatures. Luckily, there are plenty, and they’ll make a great addition to your environment. Consider adding one (or more) of the following to your collection:
- Spider plant
- Jade plant
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Snake plant
With the right plants, you can bask in greenery year round!