Agriculture / How to Care for Houseplants in the Winter

How to Care for Houseplants in the Winter

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Written by Jeffrey Espinoza

As the colder months roll in, it’s crucial to adjust how to care for houseplants in the winter, ensuring they continue to thrive despite the challenges that come with reduced sunlight, lower humidity levels, and indoor heating. Winter brings about a unique set of conditions that can affect plant health, from dry air that can decrease the humidity around your indoor plants, leading to issues like leaf loss and increased susceptibility to pests, to the lack of natural light which necessitates a shift in where your plants are placed within your home to maximize their light intake. Understanding these changes and how they impact your houseplants is the first step in providing the best winter care.

Adjusting your plant care routine during the winter months involves more than just moving your plants closer to a window for more sunlight. It includes monitoring the soil moisture closely to prevent over-watering and root rot, a common issue when indoor plants are watered too frequently in winter.

Adjust Your Watering Routine

Now that we’ve explored the essentials of positioning for optimal growth, let’s dive into the heart of plant care, particularly during the colder months – adjusting your watering routine. Master gardeners know that the key to thriving houseplants in winter isn’t just about keeping them warm; it’s also about mastering the art of watering.

During winter, the combination of lower light levels, shorter days, and indoor heating can significantly alter the water needs of your houseplants. The reduced sunlight means that your plants will photosynthesize less and, as a result, use water more slowly. Therefore, it’s crucial to adjust your watering habits accordingly to prevent issues like root rot, which can be fatal.

A common misconception is that all houseplants have the same watering needs in winter. However, a snake plant, known for its resilience in low light and dry air, will require much less water than a tropical plant craving humidity. This highlights the importance of understanding the specific needs of each plant in your care.

Moreover, the type of potting soil used can impact how often you need to water.

Ensure Adequate Light Exposure

As we transition from fine-tuning our watering habits, it’s essential to illuminate another cornerstone of houseplant care: ensuring adequate light exposure. Imagine your houseplants stretching towards the window, their leaves unfurling like hands reaching for the warmth of the sun. This imagery isn’t just poetic; it’s a fundamental aspect of keeping your green companions thriving, especially during winter.

Winter months can be challenging for indoor greenery, as the shorter days and gloomy weather reduce the amount of natural sunlight entering our homes. This is where understanding the specific light requirements of your houseplants becomes crucial. Some houseplants, like the snake plant, are forgiving and can manage in low light, while others may require the assistance of a grow light to mimic the sun’s rays.

Moreover, positioning your houseplants to receive indirect light can prevent leaf burn while ensuring they still get the light they need. It’s also a time to be vigilant about cold drafts and sudden temperature drops near windows, which can be detrimental to tropical plants accustomed to consistent climates.

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Maintain Humidity Levels

Transitioning from the importance of ensuring adequate sunlight and light levels for your indoor plants, it becomes crucial to address another vital aspect of winter houseplant care – maintaining appropriate humidity. In the realm of horticulture, understanding and managing the humidity around your indoor greenery can significantly impact their health and vitality, especially during the winter months.

During winter, the air both outside and indoors tends to become drier, which can be challenging for houseplants accustomed to more tropical conditions. This drop in humidity can lead to leaf loss and hinder new growth, making it essential to monitor and adjust the humidity around your plants. One effective approach is to place a humidity tray filled with water near your greenery, allowing the evaporating water to increase the moisture in the air. Additionally, grouping houseplants together can create a microclimate with higher relative humidity, benefiting all the plants in the vicinity.

It’s also vital to protect your houseplants from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes that can accompany winter weather. Positioning your greenery away from cold windows and ensuring they’re not in the path of a cold draft can prevent unnecessary stress.

Protect Plants from Cold Drafts

Shifting from the imperative of maintaining the right moisture in the air, another vital aspect of ensuring the well-being of your green companions during the chillier period involves shielding them from the unwelcome embrace of cold air. As a master gardener, I can’t stress enough how sudden temperature drops, particularly drafts, can stress your indoor flora, leading to a variety of issues that could hinder their health and growth.

When considering winter care for your indoor plants, it’s crucial to position them away from areas where cold air could seep in, such as near doors or poorly insulated windows. This kind of exposure not only cools the soil too rapidly but can also cause the plant leaf to become brittle and discolored. A stable environment, free from these cold intrusions, supports the steady development of new growth and preserves the lush appearance of the leaf.

Furthermore, the winter months demand a reassessment of your plant care strategy regarding sunlight exposure.

Adjust Temperature Settings

As we transition from the challenges of safeguarding your indoor greenery from chilly breezes, let’s delve into the art of fine-tuning those temperature dials for optimum winter care. The dance between too cold and too warm environments is a delicate one, especially when aiming for the thriving of your beloved indoor plants during the winter months.

Adjusting temperature settings is crucial, as most house plants originate from climates where the warmth is consistent. A sudden drop in temperature can be as harmful as a pest invasion. Speaking of pests, these unwelcome guests tend to exploit the weakened defenses of stressed plants, making winter plant care a multifaceted endeavor. It’s not just about keeping the soil at the right moisture level or ensuring there’s enough indirect light. It’s also about maintaining a stable environment that discourages pests and promotes the well-being of every plant leaf.

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Remember, the best houseplants are those that match your living space’s ability to provide natural light, relative humidity, and, yes, temperature.

Fertilize Sparingly

Transitioning from the nuances of adjusting temperature settings for optimal growth, let’s delve into another vital aspect of nurturing our green companions: fertilizing sparingly. This practice is particularly crucial during the winter months, a time when the growth of both indoor and outdoor plants significantly slows down. During this period, the reduced need for nutrients means that over-fertilization can harm rather than help.

For those tending to a winter houseplant or two, remember that their soil should be treated with care. Excess nutrients can accumulate and potentially damage the delicate root systems. Instead, opt for a light touch, perhaps using half the recommended amount of fertilizer you’d typically apply. This approach ensures that your plants, whether they’re best houseplants known for their resilience or outdoor plants braving the colder air, receive just what they need without the risk of nutrient burn.

Moreover, monitoring soil moisture becomes even more critical. Overly damp soil, especially when combined with excess nutrients, can create an inviting environment for pests.

Prune and Clean Regularly

As we transition from discussing the fine art of fertilization, our attention now shifts towards the equally vital practice of regular pruning and cleaning, a task that breathes new life into our green companions. The process of winter care for indoor plants involves more than just adjusting the amount of sunlight they receive or finding the perfect spot away from direct sunlight; it also encompasses the meticulous removal of any dead or dying leaves to prevent the onset of pests that thrive in weak plant areas. Furthermore, ensuring that your indoor garden is free from excess water and using the right potting soil can significantly deter houseplant pests, which are more prevalent during the winter months.

Incorporating a grow light can compensate for the limited sunlight available indoors, promoting healthier growth and aiding in winter plant care. Additionally, it’s crucial to inspect your plants regularly for pests, as these unwanted guests can quickly become a problem if not addressed promptly. Advice and products from a garden centre, along with related articles on winter care and winter houseplant care, can offer invaluable insights into keeping pests at bay and ensuring your house plant thrives during this challenging season.

Check for Pests and Diseases

Transitioning from the meticulous task of pruning and cleansing, another crucial aspect of maintaining the health of your indoor plants, especially during winter care, involves vigilant monitoring for pests and diseases. Just as a gardener would don their gloves to ward off the encroaching weeds, so too must they arm themselves with knowledge to protect their green companions from the less visible, but equally threatening, houseplant pests and diseases.

A healthy leaf is a happy leaf, but it’s also the first line of defense against invaders. Keeping an eye out for unusual spots, powdery substances, or unexpected leaf droppings can signal the early onset of trouble. As winter care dictates, ensuring your plants are not subjected to excess water or placed in too much direct sunlight can significantly reduce stress, making them less susceptible to diseases.

For those who find themselves facing an unknown adversary, a visit to a local garden centre or a deep dive into related articles can provide much-needed guidance. The key is to act swiftly, as many issues, if caught early, can be remedied with minimal impact on your plant’s health.

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Repot with Care

After ensuring your green companions are free from unwelcome visitors and diseases, it’s time to turn your attention to their living quarters. Repotting is not just about freshening their environment; it’s a vital step for their health and vigor. As a horticulturist, I cannot stress enough the importance of handling this process with care and attention to detail. Begin by choosing a container that’s slightly larger than the current one. This gives the roots room to spread without overwhelming them. Use a high-quality, well-draining medium that supports healthy root development. Gently tease the roots apart if they’re tightly bound, and trim any that are dead or overly long. When positioning it in the new container, ensure it sits at the same depth it was in its previous home to avoid burying the stem. Finally, after giving it a gentle but thorough irrigation, place it in a location where it will receive the appropriate amount of filtered brightness. This thoughtful transition can invigorate your verdant friends, encouraging lush, robust growth.

Provide Extra Care and Attention

Transitioning from the delicate task of repotting, it’s essential to shift our focus to the next phase: providing extra care and attention. Once the flora is comfortably situated in its new home, the journey towards thriving under your watchful eye begins. This stage demands a nuanced approach, accentuating the importance of observing and responding to the subtle cues your green companions offer.

A critical aspect of this care involves monitoring the environment for variations that could impact your botanical friends. Without mentioning the specific challenges of certain seasons, it’s vital to adjust your care routine to accommodate the changing needs of your flora. This might mean altering the frequency of adding moisture to the earth surrounding the roots or shifting the position of your green companions to ensure they receive the optimal amount of light. Moreover, vigilance against tiny invaders that might compromise the health of your flora is paramount. Regular inspections can preempt issues before they escalate.

Remember, the goal is to create a haven where your green companions not only survive but flourish.


As the seasons change, our green companions require a shift in their maintenance routines. Tending to them with a vigilant eye and adapting our strategies ensures they not only survive but thrive. Remember, these living entities rely on us for their wellbeing, especially when environmental conditions inside our homes shift. By adjusting our routines and staying observant, we can foster a nurturing environment that promotes their vitality.

In conclusion, the journey through the cooler part of the year demands a thoughtful approach to care for our verdant friends. By taking proactive steps such as modifying our nurturing habits, shielding them from chilly breezes, and keeping an eye out for any signs of distress, we cultivate not just their survival but their flourishing. Let’s commit to providing that extra bit of love and attention they need, ensuring they remain vibrant and healthy until the warmer days return.