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Winter Care of Houseplants

With shorter daylight hours and longer nights, the growth on indoor plants tends to slow down substantially. The following are some tips on how to handle your favourite indoor plants to pull them through until spring when growth begins once again and plants can flourish to their full potential:

Temperature

  • day temperatures of 18-21ºC and night temperatures of 15-18ºC
  • keep away from cold drafts, hot air vents and radiators
  • on cold days foliage should not touch cold windows

 

Humidity

  • provide extra humidity (40-50% preferable) as furnaces running constantly dry out indoor air
  • use humidifiers where possible
  • group plants together as they will create a certain amount of humidity between them
  • use pebble trays
  • mist once or twice daily

 

 

Cleaning

  • keep foliage dusted – again with furnaces on all the time, dust accumulates on the foliage
  • bathe them once monthly in the shower or use a soft cloth dipped in a mild solution of ivory soap in tepid water
  • Swiffer cloths are a great choice
  • by cleaning your indoor plants their appearance will be greatly enhanced which stimulate fresh growth, as well any insect pests will be kept under control

 

Light

  • supply as much light as possible – move plants closer to windows especially facing west or south
  • plants which require low light will benefit greatly

Fertilizing

  • not necessary in winter
  • many indoor plants go into a semi-dormant state November to February and do not require fertilizer
  • if one wishes to fertilize during this time period, a solution of half strength 20-20-20 can be applied once monthly
  • exceptions:
  • orchids – half strength 25-10-10 with every watering
  • citrus – 30-10-10 with iron chelates once per month
  • winter bloomers – 20-20-20 once per month

 

Watering

  • indoor plants benefit from being keep on the dry side through the winter months
  • cacti and succulents – water once monthly
  • other plants – water when soil surface becomes dry to the touch IE: water when the top 1-2” of soil is dry
  • weight – if pots are light weight, water well
  • excess water running out of bottom of pots should be removed so plants are not sitting in water

 

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