Tips for Keeping Your Houseplants Alive Over the Winter

Updated: Oct 21, 2018

The crisp chill of fall reminds us that winter is just around the corner. Just like us, plants can have a difficult time coping with the cold but thankfully there are few things you can do to make sure your plants make it to the spring healthy and happy.

Tip # 1

Wash and Check Plants for Pests Before Bringing Them Inside

Many of us have plants that we moved to our patio, deck or balconies over the summer and it’s time to bring those babies in. Thoroughly check your plants for any pests that may try to hitch a ride into your warm home. They can easily spread throughout your home and damage all your other plants. Be sure to check underneath the leaves and at the base of the stems for any visible pests like spider mites or mealy bugs (archenemy #1). Mites, although very tiny, can easily be removed by spraying the leaves with a steady stream of a 2:1 ratio of water and dish detergent soap. Mealy bugs can be removed using alcohol on a q-tip and removing them one at a time. Mealy bugs are notorious for hiding in all creases and crevices so check everywhere! Keep outdoor plants away from your other indoor plants for a few weeks to make sure you've gotten all the pests before moving them to their final winter space.

Tip #2

Cut Down on Water (Less is More Here People!)

Most houseplants go into hibernation over the winter to conserve energy during the low light periods. Some even die back a bit. Don’t worry, it’s normal. What that means for you is they don’t need as much water. Allow the first 1-2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings. You don’t want root rot to set in by overwatering.

Tip #3

Try To Create Ideal Air Conditions in Your Home

Although you can’t replicate the warmth and humidity of the summer months, there are ways you can create a better atmosphere for your plants indoors. If you can, invest in a humidifier. It can add a little moisture to the dry winter air and helps your more delicate leaves from becoming dry and brittle. (Humidifiers are good for your sinuses and lungs too so win/win.) Try to keep your heat at a reasonable temperature. Avoid putting plants by heaters or fireplaces or they may dry out too quickly. Lastly, though near the window might be the best place for sunlight, avoid putting plants near drafty or open windows.

Tip #4

Don’t Do Any Major Renovations (if possible)

Plants need all their strength to endure the less than ideal conditions of winter. Repotting or fertilizer takes a toll on the plant and can be too stressful. Try to avoid repotting or fertilizing your plants until late March/April. Let them rest and they'll reward you for it in the spring.

Tip #5

Consider Grow Lights for Bright Light Plants

Some bright light loving plants will just not be happy over the winter indoors. For these plants, such as Alocasia Polly, Succulents, or Rubber Plant, consider a grow light to increase the hours of light and help these plants make it through the overcast days to come. Make sure to turn this light off at night to keep the plant in its natural circadian rhythm.

These tips will help you and your plants make it through the next few months despite the frigid temps and dare we say it….(SNOW?)

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