Tips for Not Killing Your Houseplants This Winter

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 15, 2022

Over the course of the year, you may have filled your apartment with houseplants of all kinds, bringing nature directly into your home for a breath of fresh air. While the warmer months of spring and summer may have had your plants thriving, you may be finding yourself with a house full of withering or dropping plants as the weather turns colder, and the days get more gloomy.

Your houseplants are likely something you’ve spent your time, effort, and money on maintaining, so you should definitely do all you can to ensure they survive the winter months. Depending on how much experience you have with houseplants, you may be struggling to keep your plants alive this winter. Keep reading for tips for not killing your houseplant this winter.

Photo: Pexels

Change your watering habits 

If you haven’t changed your watering habits at all since the seasons have changed, you will probably have noticed that your plants have been suffering — constantly soggy soil, yellow or brown limp leaves, or mushy stems are all signs of overwatering. If this is the case, adjust your watering schedule during the winter months.

Darker and shorter days are going to reduce the rate that your plants are using water, so the soil is going to take longer to dry out than it did in the sunny and warm months of spring and summer. Rather than watering every few days or on a weekly basis, your plants could survive with sparse watering in the winter months.

Bring your plants to the light (or bring the light to them)

While your room may be perfectly situated with plants for the sunny seasons of the year, the shift in seasons may mean that spots where they previously thrived are now causing them to get inadequate light. While sunny weather may have meant a spot further away from the window still go them plenty of light, the gloomier days of winter may be leaving little to light in corners tucked away from spots directly in front of a window.

If you don’t have the chance to shift all your plants in front of a window due to space or other logistics, supplement the lack of natural light during the winter with artificial lighting. Use a grow light to ensure that your plants’ need for light is met during the darker days of winter. While grow lights may seem like an unnecessary cost, they are something you can use year-round and you’ll be surprised how more light can help your plants thrive.

Another great perk of opting to buy grow lights is not having to rearrange your furniture and plants just to make sure your plants have adequate lighting during the winter. All you’ll need to do is plug in a light where needed or get an extension cord to get lights where they are needed.

Increase the humidity of your room’s interior

Winter can leave your room with dry indoor air. You may already be noticing that your skin is much drier lately, and it’s not the only thing that is suffering from your room’s lack of humidity.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can increase the humidity of your room in the winter months. First, place plants on a tray of pebbles. Add water so that the water level is right below the top of the pebbles and place your plants on top. As the water evaporates, the humidity will increase around your plant.

If that isn’t a feasible option, move your plants closer together. Plants will naturally release moisture into the air — a process called transpiration. The more plants you group together in close quarters, the more you are enabling this process.

If you are still looking for ways to increase your room’s humidity, you can always purchase a humidifier. The humidifier will benefit both your skin and your plants as you add much-needed moisture into the dry air.

Perform maintenance and keep plants clear of dust and pests

Once you have watering and lighting taken care of, you will want to make sure that your plants are kept free of dust and pests during the winter months. During winter, your home is bound to get a bit of dust build-up, but don’t let it sit on your plants and leave them to suffer. Settled dust on your houseplants’ leaves can hinder their ability to breathe, blocking them from being healthy. Make a point to regularly wipe the dust off your houseplants’ leaves to keep them dust-free, helping keep pests like spider mites away.

You can do a simple cleaning by misting your plants’ leaves with water and gently wiping them down with a paper towel, washrag, or sponge. Be careful not to leave your plants completely soaked to avoid overwatering and/or rot.

Don’t throw away all the hard work (and money) you put into your houseplants over the past year this winter. The seasons are changing and you are going to have to make sure your plants are able to adapt to whatever that change brings into your living space. With these tips in mind, you can make help your houseplants survive this winter and see the new year.

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