This month's blog is all about caring for indoor plants during winter, something we could all use a little help with! Written by our wonderful guest Aleeth from FLUQ.
During the winter months, a vast number of plants hibernate to get a well-earned rest. This rest period is known as dormancy, and during this time, they do not produce leaves or flowers. Some even lose all their leaves, but this is nothing to worry about! This happens to indoor plants and rest assured you haven’t killed your plant. Just like trees which lose their leaves in winter, and many other garden plants, it is preparing itself for a rest. Dormancy varies from species to species and can last weeks to months. For the duration of this period, you will need to adjust how you care for your plant. Read on to learn how!
Be sure to give your plant plenty of sun
As the days shorten in the winter, so too do the number of sunlight hours. Although some species of plants can still thrive with a lack of sunlight, for example, peace lilies, ZZ plants, others definitely need it.
For plants that require sunlight or bright light during the winter months, you may notice them looking a little droopy- they aren’t actually sad! For these types of plants, it’s better to move them around the room, preferably on a windowsill, so it can catch some daylight for a few hours. Be sure not to put them too close to the window or leave them there overnight, because windows become cold at night.
Remember that your plant is in its dormancy during winter, so it does not use up as much energy, and therefore, does not need as much water as they would at any other time of the year. Winter dormancy is a crucial time to be more diligent of your watering habits. Over-watering a plant can be very easy to do. If you have over-watered a plant, you will see that the leaves appear droopy, turn yellow, and fall off. Make sure your pots allow water to leave the soil - drainage is absolutely essential for healthy plants.
Peat or soil in the pot will also take a lot longer to dry out in the winter. Typically, watering should be cut down to half the amount you would use in the growing season. If you have a porous pot, such as a Terracotta pot, it aids in allowing water to leave soil quicker.
A way to check whether your plants need watering is by feeling the soil before you water. Only water your plant when you think the soil is starting to dry out (up to about 1.5 cm down). If you are unsure, leave it a few more days and check again. During the winter, plants, such as succulents and cacti, may not require any water at all.
Another critical point to remember during the dormancy, or winter period is not to fertilise. Although a great thing during the summer to encourage growth, unused fertiliser in the soil during the winter may actually kill your plant!
Plants do not like heat vents or drafts
It can be difficult managing the temperature of plants during the winter. Tropical plants, in particular, will not cope with drafts. It is a difficult situation because they need lots of light. Keep your plants a few centimetres away from any window. If you have windows with a draft, plug up the gap with an old scarf or a piece of material to keep the cold out. Door socks for your exterior doors are also a good way of stopping drafts from creeping in under the door.
With that said, plants also do not like hot air, whether it be coming from your radiators or heat vents. The temperature fluctuation can cause them to stress and dry out the air even more, which is not healthy for them. If you can, move them away from any radiator or heat vent, or if possible, close off the vents near your plants. Grouping plants together will help increase the humidity as well as using a light mist spray or setting down a tray of water and switching on a humidifier.
Have you ever dusted your plants when you have been cleaning your house? It may sound strange, but all types of dust settle on the leaves of your plants. Outdoor plants have the wind and breezes to take care of that, but indoors it is down to you. Plants breathe through their leaves. You can either individually wipe the leaves with a soft cloth. Leaf wipes are available for this job too. Alternatively, you can shower your plants. Yes, you heard it right, ‘shower.’ You should only do this though if your water pressure is quite low. Gently shower the leaves to remove the dust and allow them to dry naturally.
You will know when the dormancy period has ended because your plants will start to form new shoots and leaves.
It can be a little more challenging caring for plants in the winter but these tips will help you give your plants the best chance. Remember don’t be disheartened if your plant droops or shed leaves- oftentimes these things are out of your control. If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch with us!
This article is by our guest writer Aleeth from FLUQ.
FLUQ strive to provide elegant solutions for your home and garden with simple products that are crafted without compromise. Their vision is to inspire their customers to think and act in ways that they would not previously considered. Their belief is that every time we spend our money we help define the world that we want to see - and we couldn't agree more!