As the winter season settles in, those of us with houseplants face the challenge of providing proper care for our indoor companions. The cold, dry air and reduced sunlight can pose challenges for the health of your houseplants. 

collage of photos relating to winter houseplant care

Today, we’ll take a look at some essential tips and strategies to help you care for your houseplants during the challenging winter months. Don’t worry – it’s easier than you’d think with some basic knowledge under your belt! 

11 Tips for Caring for Houseplants in Winter

As winter arrives, your houseplants may need some extra attention to ensure they thrive in the challenging conditions of the season. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your plants happy during the colder months. 

1. Move plants for more sunlight

With daylight hours becoming shorter, it’s crucial to reposition your houseplants to maximize their exposure to available sunlight. Windowsills or other well-lit areas can make a significant difference in maintaining healthy growth.

Photo source: Africa images / Canva

Remember that the areas with the best sunlight in your home will shift a bit throughout the seasons and adjust your plants’ placement accordingly.

2. Add some humidity

Do you run your heaters during the winter months? Indoor heating systems can create a dry environment, which isn’t ideal for most houseplants. Try to increase humidity levels by misting your plants regularly, using a humidity tray, or investing in a room humidifier.

humidifier amongst a collection of houseplants

There are lots of humidifier options now that actually look really nice alongside your regular decor. Just be sure to size up if you’re looking for something to adjust the humidity of a whole room. If you’re just looking for something to accompany some plants and decor on a shelf, however, a little decorative one will do just fine.

3. Move outdoor plants inside 

Certain outdoor plants can be moved indoors for the winter to protect them from the cold, especially in particularly cold areas where the ground regularly freezes or there is heavy snowfall. These may include tropical plants, succulents, orchids, and potted herbs. Make sure they adapt gradually to indoor conditions, and try to keep them in well-lit areas.

variety of houseplants indoors on floor and on a shelf
Photo source: pixelshot / Canva

4. Don’t panic if you see less growth

It’s common for houseplants to slow down or even stop growing during the winter. This is a natural response to the reduced light and lower temperatures. It also makes winter houseplant care a bit easier- less growth means less water and nutrients needed! Be patient and avoid overwatering or over-fertilizing to encourage growth – your plant will be back to its normal self once the daylight hours and temperatures increase.

5. Losing some leaves is normal

As your houseplants adjust to winter conditions, it’s normal for them to shed a few leaves. These are often older or lower leaves that the plant no longer needs. Remove any yellow or brown leaves to maintain the plant’s overall health.

Photo source: irynakhabliuk / Canva

6. What about fertilizing?

In general, you shouldn’t need to fertilize your houseplants during the winter months. Overfeeding your plants can lead to nutrient buildup in your planter’s soil, which can be harmful. You can resume regular fertilization in the spring when your plants begin to actively grow again.

7. Reduce houseplant watering

With lower light levels and slower growth, your houseplants won’t need as much water in the winter. Plus, cooler temperatures mean that not as much water evaporates from your indoor planters. Adjust your watering schedule to allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot or any sort of mold or fungal growth. 

Photo source: Grumpy Cow Studios / Canva

Leaving to go on vacation? Don’t worry about setting up a or self-watering system unless you’ll be gone longer than a week. Any less and your plants should be fine.

8. Be mindful of vents and drafts

Keep your houseplants away from heating vents, radiators, and drafty windows. Sudden temperature fluctuations and dry air from these sources can stress your plants. Vents, in particular, can cause extra dryness, while drafts blowing directly onto your plant can deliver bursts of cold air that many houseplants are sensitive to.

9. Hold off on repotting until spring

Winter isn’t the ideal time to repot your houseplants unless it’s absolutely necessary. Repotting can be stressful for plants, so it’s best to wait until spring when they are actively growing. If your plant is obviously sick or you suspect a soil problem like a fungus, you can repot your plant to try to save it. 

10. Keep leaves clean

Dust can accumulate on your houseplant’s leaves, reducing their ability to absorb sunlight and photosynthesize, which is how plants get their energy. Gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them clean and free from dust and grime.

Photo source: JulieAlexK / Getty Images

11. Stay on top of pest control

Pests can still be a problem in the winter, so continue to monitor your plants for any signs of infestations. Isolate and treat affected plants promptly to prevent the issue from spreading.

Photo source: Aleksandr / Getty Images

This winter houseplant care tip is especially important for any outdoor plants you may relocate indoors. While pests may be dormant or struggling to survive in the cool weather outdoors, they may spring to life and multiply quickly once inside, then spread to your houseplants. Inspect your outdoor plants carefully before bringing them in.

Bonus Tips to Take Your Houseplants From Surviving to Thriving

While the previous 11 tips can help your houseplants make it through the winter months in good health, you can elevate your indoor gardening game by going the extra mile. Here’s how to level up your indoor plant game to ensure your houseplants come out of winter in peak condition. 

12. Get a grow light

If you find that your houseplants are still struggling to get enough light, even after repositioning them by the window, consider investing in a grow light. These artificial light sources mimic the sun’s spectrum and provide the necessary light for your plants to thrive. They are particularly useful for light-demanding plants, such as succulents and some tropical species.

13. Create a DIY indoor greenhouse

To create a microclimate that’s perfect for your indoor plants, set up a DIY indoor greenhouse. There are lots of ways to do this, including many IKEA cabinet hacks like the one you see below. By enclosing a specific area with clear plastic or using a designated shelf, you can control humidity and temperature, ensuring that your houseplants enjoy the optimal environment throughout the winter. This method is perfect for humidity-loving plants like ferns, orchids, and tropical species.

Photo source: @kasvilikka / Instagram

14. Choose the best houseplants to thrive through winter

Sometimes, the key to thriving houseplants during the winter starts with selecting the right ones in the first place. These plants are more likely to flourish in your home when the winter season arrives, requiring less intervention to thrive.

Photo source: The Bouqs

Consider easy-care houseplants that are naturally adapted to low light conditions and cooler temperatures, such as snake plants (Sansevieria), pothos (Epipremnum aureum), fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata), or Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema).

Winter houseplant care is easy if you follow these tips!

I hope these tips and tricks help you to feel confident about caring for your houseplants as we head into the winter season. If you’re looking for more ways to continue gardening indoors through winter, check out our posts on how to force bulbs, pilea plants, and how to start seeds indoors! Or, perhaps create an entire indoor space dedicated to gardening through the cold with your own DIY greenhouse?!

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