Caring For Your Houseplants
As the cooler months approach, the change in climate not only affects us, but also has an impact our indoor buddies. The good news is that looking after houseplants is easier than you think. With shorter days our normal summer houseplant routine will become less stringent until August. Read on to find out the do’s and don’ts so your plants survive the winter with ease.
It’s important to understand lighting when it comes to house plants. Because the light levels in homes are shorter and the light is dimmer in winter, it is best to relocate some of our cold-sensitive plants, such as calatheas, alocasias and fittonias, to brighter locations.
- Place sensitive plants too close to windows in winter as they can often become frosted. You will either need to move the plant away or close the curtains to protect the plant.
- Use the hardening off method. If you’re moving your plants into a sunnier position for winter, gradually move the plants into their new position for a few hours a day so they don’t go into shock.
- Rotate plants. Because sunlight is limited in winter, plants will reach for light, resulting in a stretched or lopsided appearance. Simply turn the pot every few weeks.
- Keep the leaves wiped down and dust-free using a soft damp cloth to maximise photosynthesis to fuel your plant.
Houseplants don’t generally like to be in spaces that drop below 15°C and they prefer a stable temperature because fluctuations can cause a lot of stress. Stressed plants often show signs such as droopy leaves that are soft to touch or yellowing off.
- Keep plants in draughty areas and keep them away from gaps in windows, especially if you have soft-leafed ferns.
- Allow your plants to dehydrate near fireplaces or gas heating.
- Mist your plants once a month with GroSure Mist & Feed, and every other week with lukewarm water. Our our range of misters are brilliant to help to create the humid environment needed.
- Group your plants in winter to create a humid cluster. While this is not advised in summer, this arrangement is perfect in winter.
- Consider an Oderings Heat Pad to maintain consistent heat while the heat pumps are off at night.
It’s time to change your watering schedule because your houseplants will require very little water in winter.
- Continue with your summer watering schedule; this will cause root rot.
- Water straight from the tap; in winter tap water is too cold and if used will cause shock in your plants. You should use lukewarm or room temperature water.
- Put your plants out in the rain to have a wash; if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.
- Surface water. Surface water is directed about 3-5cm away from the centre of the plant to keep the feeding roots watered. This should penetrate the soil to about 5cm deep. Adapt this technique to suit your plant sizes and requirements. Please keep in mind that some cacti, succulents, string of pearls and snake plants may not need water for months if you live in a colder home.
- Water in the mornings, not at night. This gives your plants a chance to take up the water.
Dormancy & Fertiliser
It’s okay if you don’t notice any changes or any new growth in your plants over winter.
- Fertilise with NPK based fertilisers if there are no signs of new growth.
- Repot your house plants in winter.
- If you’re fortunate enough to live in a very warm house, fertilise with a gentle fertiliser such as GroSure Pump & Feed every 4-6 weeks.
- Give a diluted form of liquid seaweed to keep your plants healthy over the cooler months as this helps build up the plants’ immunity and helps with protection in winter.