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Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Care of Plants in the Winter

Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Care of Plants in the Winter

Author: C.W.

Taking care of your plants in the winter can seem like a daunting task, especially if this is your first time managing indoor flora. Luckily, with a little research, your aesthetic greenery should be able to thrive even with reduced sunlight. The following tips will help to keep your plants healthy, happy, and thriving during the darkest times of the year. Follow this list to help your plant survive not only this winter but for years to come.

What You Should Do for Your Plants in the Winter

Your houseplants are like your babies, meaning they’ll need a lot of care to grow and thrive. Winter poses an especially large challenge because of the colder temperatures, lack of sunlight, and dryer air. They might seem temperamental and prone to tantrums but when you care for your plants the right way, they’re sure to love you back.

Keep Your Plants Warm

The reason most houseplants can survive indoors is that they thrive at a comfortable room temperature. This means they love temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you keep your rooms between these temperatures. Remember that even if your thermostat is set at 70, your plants may be in areas that are colder or warmer (such as next to a drafty window or above the radiator), so don’t be scared to move them around to a better spot.

Read the Care Instructions

Not all indoor plants have the same care instructions, so it’s important to see what your plants need. For example, some houseplants require full sun to thrive, and in the winter, this may require you to relocate specific plants to a south- or west-facing windowsill. If it helps, make a chart of all your plants’ needs to help you stay organized.

Consider a Humidifier and Grow Light

This tip is especially relevant for people living in New York City apartments because natural sunlight is few and far between. You may want to consider a grow light to help them get the UV rays they need if they’re lacking. Don’t leave this light on 24/7; just keep it lit during normal daylight hours. As for the humidifier, it can be a good way to help your plants naturally get water from the air. If you don’t have a humidifier, try clustering your plants in groups or putting them near a tray of water.

Repot and Prune

Your plants won’t usually be growing during winter so now is the perfect time to repot and prune them. This is especially important for plants that have vines or other hanging leaves because left untrimmed, these can quickly get messy. If you have succulents or other plants that can propagate with trimmings (such as succulents), you may even want to try your hand at starting a few new plants! As soon as spring hits, you may notice these leaves start to grow roots and form their own new plant.

What You Should NOT Do for Your Plants in the Winter

Even the most well-intentioned plant owner can make an egregious mistake if they’re not careful. To ensure your plants don’t suffer, avoid doing any of the following.

Don’t Overwater Your Plants

Since the air during the winter is usually dryer, you may be tempted to soak your plants with more water. Don’t. Just like other living creatures, plants tend to be less active in the winter, meaning they simply don’t need as much hydration. When checking to see if the soil is moist, push your finger down a bit to see how wet it feels underneath the surface; this is often a better indicator of whether or not your plant needs a drink.

Don’t Use Fertilizer

The reason you don’t need to use fertilizer is the same reason you don’t want to overwater your plants — they simply don’t need it. It’s natural for plants to enter a chill mode during winter, so feeding them extra nutrients could disrupt this cycle and hinder their growth.

Don’t Let Pests Take Over

Your plant won’t be the only lifeform seeking respite from the chill of winter. Pests, in the form of mealybugs, fungus gnats, and spider mites, all like to take root in houseplants during the winter months. In fact, the lack of sunlight, warm furnace heat, and moist air from a humidifier all contribute to their existence. Be watchful of signs of pests and take steps as soon as you notice a problem.

Don’t Skip Cleaning

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your plants won’t get dirty. In fact, it might mean your plants get even dirtier since you won’t have as much fresh air circulating. Wipe off the leaves of your plants every few weeks to keep them clean and dry. This allows them to absorb sunlight better so your plant stays healthier.

Top 5 Plants That Thrive in the Winter

If you don’t have any current plants but want to start building your plant family now, there are a few options to look into. The following plants thrive in winter, so you should have no problems taking care of them:

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe in Glass by Plantshed

This plant requires minimal direct light, meaning you can easily keep it alive even if you don’t get a lot of sun. Even better, you only need to water it once a week.

2. Succulents

Succulent Garden in Palmero Pot by Plantshed

There are a huge variety of succulents out there, so you can craft beautiful displays without putting in too much effort. Succulents do need more light than aloe, though, so be sure to keep them on a windowsill.

3. Snake Plant

Snake Plant Black Coral in Ash Pot by Plantshed

If your green thumb abilities are seriously in question, you need to try out a snake plant. Caring for it is easy, as it only needs water every few weeks and doesn’t require a lot of light.

4. Bromeliads

Bromeliad Guzmania in Black Square Ceramic by Plantshed

For a little spot of color, consider a bromeliad, which commonly features bright and beautiful foliage. It doesn’t require full sunlight and only needs minimal watering.

5. Devil’s Ivy

Golden Pothos in Spade Pot by Plantshed

For the truly plant inept, a devil’s ivy plant is the way to go. You may also know this plant as Pothos, and it just requires minimal watering and light.

Start Growing Your Indoor Plants Today

There’s no need to wait until the warmth of summer to start curating your family of indoor plants. Browse our catalog of houseplants to find the perfect pieces to fit your home. Then, take advantage of our plant delivery in NYC to start building your collection immediately.