Winter Houseplant Care 101
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Our houseplants can be affected by the cold, dark winter months, even though they live in a temperature-controlled climate. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to keep your house plants thriving through the winter. Here are key tips for winter houseplant care, so you can keep your indoor plants alive and healthy during these cooler months.
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1. Move Plants Away from Drastic Temperature Changes
One of the most noticeable seasonal changes is shifting temperatures. These changes might put your houseplants to go into shock and they will show you signs of stress.
Avoid these areas below:
windows & doors areas that transition from the outside to inside
locations too close to heaters or vents
It's instinctive to move plants closer to the window to get more sunlight because of the darker and the days are shorter. But be sure to avoid drafts or breezes that may chill them. I recommend keeping the windows shut in areas where you have plants.
It's also important to keep away from heaters or vents that might dry out your houseplant. I learned my lesson by putting my Fiddle Leaf Fig too close to my space heater. It emitted extremely dry air, which can dried out my fiddle’s leaves and cause them to drop off!
2. Bring Your Plants Back Inside
If you moved your houseplants outside this summer for the growing season, it is time to bring them back in. Tropical plants don't do well in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Repeated exposure to cold temperature can result in cold damage!
3. Cut back on Water
With the lower temperatures, the soil won’t be drying out as fast. Therefore, the plant won’t need as much water in the winter. I water my plants 30% less in the winter compared to the summer. For my best tips on watering houseplants, check out my blog post here.
Please keep in mind how often you water yours will vary depending on the type of plant, the pot size and soil mix, light conditions and degree of humidity.
4. Cut Back Fertilizer
Similar to water, you don’t want to over-fertilize your house plants in the winter. And if your plants are healthy, skip fertilizing altogether. If you think they need some fertilizer, dilute it by at least 50 percent. I'm replaced fertilizer with a vitamin and mineral supplement called Liqui-Dirt which is a more gentle on my plants. I am able to use this product year round. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
5. Growlights For Indoor Plants (Supplement light)
With darker, shorter winter days, a grow light is a must! Energy efficient grow light stands bring the sunshine indoors. If you are unsure of what lighting condition you have, check out my Indoor lighting guide here.
Grow Lights are helpful especially during the winter when there is a lack of sunlight, during gloomy days or when there are darker corners in your house. The Soltech Grow lights that I am using saved my plants during the winter. They were the first fancy grow lights I ever owned. I had always thought grow lights were complicated and hard to use, but these are user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing .
It can be a pricey investment. The setup I own is around 300 dollars and so far, and its worth it. For 15% off your Soltech grow lights use my discount code "FELINEJUNGLE". Click here to check out their different types of growlights ranging from $75 - $200. (Feline Jungle is an affiliate partner with Soltech Solutions).
6. Maintain Normal Humidity Levels
The humidity level in your home can take a drastic drop due to the dry winter air and your heaters. I like to blast on my heat during the cold season. If you're like me, you need humidifiers to add additional moisture to the dry winter air. This will prevent your more delicate plant leaves from turning brown. Plus it’s good for your skin, too. Here is the link to the humidifiers I swear by.
7. Maintain Normal Temperature
Try to maintain a temperature range of 65- 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Any drastic shift in temperature might stress out your plant. Your plant will not be afraid to show signs of stress by turning yellow or start dropping leaves. I use this thermometer and humidity gauge from Amazon to monitor temperature in my living room and dining room. (Surprisingly there is a big difference in temperature and humidity between the two rooms.)
For my more sensitive plants, I place them on top of the Vivosun heat mat, which is designed for seed germination so it is set to the perfect temperature for plants.
8. Trim and Prune
Don't stress out if your leaves turn yellow, this is part of the natural plant cycle. Trim the plant and remove dead or yellowing leaves on your houseplants.
9. Repot Only If Necessary
Repotting can cause unnecessary stress for your plants and they need all their strength in the winter. So hold off on repotting plants until spring. Right now I am collected all these terracotta pots so that I can pot plants in them in a couple of months!
Winter Care for Houseplants
This is a general guideline for tropical houseplants. It is important to understand the native environment of your indoor plants. Most houseplants come from tropical places that have little difference between the different seasons. Do your best to maintain the temperature, humidity, and quality of light your plants receives, whether that means adding a grow light, using a humidifier in the winter, or covering a vent.
Hope your plants survive this winter! Leave a comment if you have any unanswered questions. I'll try my best to answer them.