Get Up and Grow: Caring for Your Houseplants In The Winter
Tip #1 – Don’t Feed
Like animals (and some humans!), most houseplants go into a hibernation state called ‘dormancy’ during winter. With less sun, our plants can conserve energy until the sun returns for extended periods to help them store nutrients – plants start photosynthesis at a much slower rate. Feeding them nutrients during the winter can cause more harm than good, resulting in lifted roots, stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and even killing the plant.
Tip #2 – Avoid Drafts
Although it may seem like a good idea to place your houseplant in a sunny location, like the windowsill, it’s usually not a good idea. More often than not, the Canadian windowsill can be drafty in the winter – sending chills down your plant’s stems! Even without a draft, window temperatures cause frostbite to your plant leaves, killing them. This can be especially dangerous when watering your plant near a cold window, as the water that leads into your plant’s root system can freeze, killing your plant.
Tip #3 – Prune Dead Leaves
As Gord mentioned, pruning your houseplants in the winter is an excellent way to maintain their health. The collection of dead leaves is the perfect place for insects and pests to find the warmth they need to multiply! So, it’s best to steer clear of any build-up. Don’t forget, if you happen to clip your plant by accident, use a water bottle to seal any “bleeding” such as sap (which attracts more insects).
Tip #4 – Don’t over-water!
You might have guessed it, but over-watering your houseplants in the winter is never a good idea -since there is less sunlight to help your plant absorb water. Over-watering your plant could result in root rot, disease and mold. If you’re unsure, try filling a sauce, as Gord mentioned, to help add a more-regulated amount of moisture to your houseplant if it’s looking a little on the dry side.
Tip #5 – Add Light
If you can’t place your plant in a sunny window or put it outside, there’s still hope! All you need to do is purchase a 13-watt lightbulb to provide the extra light you need. Just place your plant near the lamp to give it the daily light exposure it needs to survive the winter. Be sure to check your plant’s dormant light requirements, as too much light is not good either.