Healthy Houseplants In Winter

By: Jennifer LaMontagne – Assistant Horticulturist – Bloch’s Farm – Green Lake, WI

Whether your plants are in their usual indoor habitat or have been brought inside for the winter, there are some care factors to take into consideration during the cold months. Here are some helpful hints regarding water, fertilizer, and sunlight to keep your plants healthy all winter:

Overwatering is often the main cause of houseplant failure. Winter air can dry the top layer of soil causing us to water more frequently. However, it’s important to check for moisture at least one inch down in the soil. During the winter months, many houseplants actually require less water as they go through a period of dormancy, and oftentimes they only require enough water to keep the soil moist.

While houseplants may benefit from being watered on an as-needed basis instead of a set schedule during the winter months, there are additional considerations, such as humidity levels, to take into account. With many houseplants being tropical, they may benefit from misting, especially during those times when we fire up the furnace. Mist your plants with a hand sprayer or add humidity by placing a humidifier in the room.

Give your plants a winter spa treatment. A plant’s leaves accumulate dust over time, clogging a plant’s pores, and preventing the plant from “breathing.” Gently wash the entire plant or take a damp cloth and wipe the leaves regularly.

Refrain from fertilizing indoor plants during the winter season. Plants like to “sleep” in the winter and do not need to be fertilized. Just as you wouldn’t fertilize your outdoor landscape in the winter, don’t fertilize your houseplants either. As spring is nearing, or once you begin fertilizing outdoor plants, then you can fertilize inside as well.

Position your plants in a bright sunny window. Remember that the angle of the sun changes from season to season, so adjustments in plant location may be necessary. Also, your houseplants may appreciate being turned every week or two, so they receive light evenly on all sides.

Ensure your plants get the most sunlight by cleaning your windows. It is surprising how much dirt and dust accumulate on windows, thereby reducing the amount of sunlight that is able to reach a plant’s leaves.

Bloch’s Farm is not yet open for the season but we are busy getting ready for all your spring needs. Call 920-294-6000 or e-mail jlamontagne@blochsfarm.com with any questions. You can also check out our website online at www.blochsfarm.com and follow us on Facebook.

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