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Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

Updated On : 28 May 2023
Preine Pereira, founder of Studio Palasa, shares expert tips on how to properly care for your plants during the colder months.
Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

Preine Pereira, founder of Studio Palasa, shares expert tips on how to properly care for your plants during the colder months. With the winter season now upon us, it is important to make sure that your houseplants are well taken care of. Plants often require a little more attention in winter as temperatures plummet. Here are some tips to keep in mind this season:

1. Water plants carefully

During winter, plants tend to develop slowly and often go dormant, and hence do not require as much water. This is due to shorter days, lower temperatures, and reduced sunlight, which all affect a plant's growth rate and water requirements. During their dormant phase, plants slow down their metabolic processes and conserve energy, thus reducing their water needs. Additionally, the lower temperatures and reduced sunlight can cause the soil to take longer to dry out, which can lead to over-watering if care is not taken.

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2. Fertilise sparingly

Since they tend to go dormant, most plants do not need fertilisation during the winter months. When a plant is fixed, most of its energy goes into maintaining its structure and preserving its food and water reserves, rather than growing and producing new leaves, flowers, or fruits. Fertilising at this stage can disturb the plant's natural rhythm and cause it to break dormancy prematurely, which can be harmful. If you choose to fertilise, use a balanced fertiliser at a lower rate than recommended for active growth. Once the spring season begins, you can continue using the normal amount.

Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

3. Prune dead or damaged branches

Winter is an ideal time to prune deciduous plants as they are dormant and not producing new growth. Eliminating dead or yellow leaves can be beneficial for the plant. However, be careful to not prune off any solid green leaves as it can affect the plant’s growth during winter. To prevent the spread of diseases, be sure to sterilise your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol or a solution of one part water to nine parts bleach before use.

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4. Check for pests

Pests can be more noticeable on plants during the winter when there are fewer leaves to hide on. Moreover, a plant that is already stressed or weakened is more susceptible to infestation, so it is important to keep your plant healthy and inspect them regularly. Check your plants for any signs of infestation, such as discoloured leaves, holes, or webbing, and be sure to check both the top and the bottom of the leaves as some pests tend to hide on the undersides. If you do find pests on your plants, you can use organic methods to remove them. One popular method is to use a spray solution of water and neem oil, which helps to suffocate the pests and disrupt their reproductive cycle.

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Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

5. Provide adequate sunlight

Plants need sunlight to survive, but the shorter days and less intense sunlight during the winter season can make this challenging. If you have plants that need indirect light, place them near a south-facing window to provide enough light without exposing them to direct sunlight. If you don't have a south-facing window, you can try placing your plants near a west or east-facing window. These windows will also provide good light, but the intensity of the light may vary depending on the time of day. Remember to rotate your plant every few weeks so that all sides receive an equal amount of sunlight. 

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6. Protect plants from wind

Strong winds can dry out plants and cause damage, especially if they are in planters. To protect your plants, place them away from doors or open windows, and in a room that is more protected from solid drafts of wind. You can also try placing physical barriers around your plant to protect it from sudden strong winds. 

Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

7. Keep an eye on the weather

Check the forecast regularly and take necessary precautions to protect your plants from extreme cold and other adverse weather conditions. Cold temperatures and freezing winds can cause damage to the leaves, stems, and roots of your plants. You can try insulating the container with bubble wrap, foam, or straw to help keep the roots warm. Adding a layer of mulch on top of the soil can also help keep the soil from freezing.

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8. Consider installing grow lights

Grow lights are perfect for areas that do not receive any sunlight. These artificial lights mimic the spectrum of sunlight and are a great solution for plants that are not getting enough natural light. They provide the necessary light for photosynthesis to occur, which helps plants grow and thrive. Installing grow lights will help plants grow better even when not placed near a window. When selecting a grow light, be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of plants you have. Each type of grow light has a different spectrum and intensity of light, so it is essential to choose the right one for your plants.

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Tips to care for your houseplants this winter

Your plants need some extra TLC during the winter months. Keep an eye out for pests, reduce watering and keep your plant away from drafty vents and the chilly outdoors. Remember that if it is too cold for you, then it is also too cold for your plants, especially the tropical beauties! Protect your plant from the harsh cold weather, and it will be sure to emerge from its dormant phase as healthy as ever.

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