“Gone away, is the blue bird,
Here to stay, is the new bird,
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.”
It’s that time of year that the sun seems particularly shy and we find ourselves layering up with mittens and scarfs.
While we can certainly step up the self-care with hot cocoa, Netflix, and winter treats, how do we take care of our green leafy friends at this time of year?
The guidelines to keep your houseplants happy and healthy are pretty simple and easy to follow: try to counteract whatever winter conditions are tough on your botanical houseguest, and accommodate their needs as the seasons shift.
Even indoor plants are susceptible to the seasons! Besides, everyone needs a break and a beauty sleep every once in awhile.
All of us are probably feeling a little sluggish with the short daylight this time of year. Light levels plummeting means less Vitamin D to energize us. We end up feeling tired, maybe a little cranky, and probably relying more on the comfort food than usual. Your plants rely on sunlight far more than we do for their metabolism, so you can imagine how they feel these days!
As light levels fall, expect growth to slow. With less growth comes less thirst! While in the summer you might have watered when the top of the soil was dry, in the winter you can dial this back. Test your soil by poking a finger into it - when it is dry to the first knuckle you’re good to go.
It’s absolutely normal for your plant to have a little hibernation and to slow down it’s growth in the darkest months, so don’t worry. They’ll bounce back with the sun soon enough. A seasonal break is usually better for your plant’s overall health.
Dry Air in the Winter:
It’s an annoyance for almost everyone! The winter air tends to be a lot less humid, so your tropical house plants will be feeling the change. If the air gets super dry, it can even suck moisture out of your poor plant’s pores! Here’s some tricks to keep everyone feeling refreshed and hydrated all winter:
- Consider investing in a humidifier. Your body AND your plants will love you.
- If you cluster your plants closer together they benefit from each other’s humidity. Plus it makes a little oasis of green in your home.
- If you’ve got a well-lit bathroom with space, consider pulling plants in there to reap the steamy benefits. It’s just like their jungles at home!
- Put stones in your plant’s saucer and (nearly!) fill it with water. Your plant’s roots will be safe from soaking, but the water evaporating off the rocks will help to refresh your plant.
- Misting your plant can certainly help, but it usually isn’t enough on its own in very dry homes.
The tropical homes of your houseplants barely fluctuate a few degrees across seasons, whereas here in Des Moines we can see changes of 15 or 20 degrees in a single day. Being mindful of temperature swings can save your plant a ton of stress. All this really takes is a scootch away from cold windows or out of the path of a doorway draft or air vent.
Houseplants in winter can be the tiny reprieve from the dark and dreary days outside that make a huge difference. It’s very easy to make sure that you support your plants like they support you!