As it gets later in the year and the sunshine gets shorter and the temperature gets colder, your indoor plants will need a little extra help to remain healthy. That's where we come in! Here's what you should know about what to do for your indoor plants as the sunshine goes south.
What to Do for Your Indoor Plants as the Sunshine Goes South
Of course, the colder temperatures, drier air, shorter days, and lack of light can distress your houseplant - or worse, kill it. However, there are a number of ways to combat these harsh conditions and help your indoor plants thrive during winter months.
During winter, light levels near windows can drop by as much as 50%. This can present a challenge for your full-sun loving indoor plants. Houseplants that take residence in sunny eastern- or northern-facing windows during the summer may need to be relocated to a southern- or western-facing windows during colder months. In return, your plants that love the filtered light of a western- or southern-facing window during the summer should be able to tolerate the eastern- or northern-facing windows during the winter months.
Make sure windows are cleaned and dust is washed from plants to make use of every bit of sunlight. You can also choose to add artificial light to your plant care regime. Fluorescent bulbs can produce an adequate amount of light for your houseplants, without as much heat, and are more budget-friendly than traditional grow lights. Bulbs should be placed anywhere from 4-12 inches away from plants for maximum efficiency.
Most houseplants prefer to stay between 65-75°F during the day and no lower than 55°F overnight. For many houseplants, anything below 50°F and you may start to see signs of distress. Humidity can pose another challenge for your houseplants.
In general, indoor plants prefer to remain in 40-50% relative humidity, however, some homes may only maintain 5-10% humidity during winter months. In cases where humidity is a problem, distress signs may include brown tips on leaves and the presence of pests, like spider mites. Adding a humidifier to the room can help reduce watering needs during the season and help give your houseplants the moisture they need.
Watering indoor plants during winter months can often present a challenge. In most cases, the problem is overwatering. Houseplants won't need nearly as much water during winter. Before watering, check a few inches below the surface of the soil to make sure it's dry. This is especially true for succulents.
It's best to move them to a sink or bath and run them under tap water and let it run through the soil and out of the bottom. Place the houseplant back in its saucer and be sure to remove any standing water throughout the day.
Food for Thought
During winter months, fertilizing can sometimes cause more harm than good. If this is an absolute must, fertilizer should be added in the fall. You should also dilute the mixture by at least half, if not more.
In addition, it's important to note that repotting your plants should ideally take place in spring. This change can be incredibly hard on plants so it's best to give them the best environment to recover.
Alan Brody of Interior Plants is an expert on plant care. If you are looking to change out and freshen your interior for the season or just want to maintain a green healthy environment for you and your plants. Check us out at www.interiorplantsinc.com or call (609) 890-9304.