Caring for indoor plants in winter
There’s nothing like decorating a room with healthy plants to create an inviting atmosphere. In addition, indoor plants help purify the air and are known to improve our overall well-being.
Caring for indoor plants in winter is not quite the same as for the rest of the year. At this time, there is less natural light, windows are cold, ambient temperatures are uneven, there is less humidity, and plants go dormant until spring. There are certain things you need to do to keep your plants healthy until then.
Watering: Water, but not excessively. Let the water run out through the drainage holes, allow the potting soil to drain, and remove the excess water in the saucer. There is no common watering frequency for plants, since it depends a lot on the size of the pot and the type of plant. Larger pots retain moisture longer than smaller ones. Plants with lush leaves need more water than those with waxy leaves. And potting soil for cacti and succulents should dry out completely between waterings. Instead of using cold tap water, try using room temperature water. This will be less stressful for the roots.
As the plant is in a dormant period, there is no need to fertilize much before the end of winter. You can use a diluted concentration (¼ rate) once a month. (MARCOM: maybe show graphics of the 4 Schultz “7 drop” liquid fertilizers). Then, in late winter or early spring, resume fertilizing at the normal rate.
Humidity : During the winter months, the air often becomes dry, and the warmer it is, the less humidity there is. Some people use a humidifier to counter the dryness, and it will definitely help your plants. If you don’t use a humidifier, you might consider misting them weekly. Another option is to elevate the pot in its saucer using small rocks, beads or marbles. Keep the water level just below and this will increase the humidity around the plant.
Light : The days are shorter, so you should consider moving your plants to brighter locations during the winter months. It is also beneficial to dust the leaves, since a layer of dust can interfere with photosynthesis, the process by which plants use light to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. Finally, rotate your pots when you water. In this way, all sides of the plant will receive light and they will grow more evenly.
Ttemperature : Indoor plants are comfortable at room temperature. But if a plant touches a cold window or is in a draft (some people like to leave a window slightly ajar in the winter), houseplants will suffer. The same goes for a plant placed near a heat source such as an air register, a heater, a wood stove or even an electronic device. Place your plants in a place where the ambient temperature will not fluctuate.
Insects : Often in winter you can see scale insects, spider mites, mushroom flies, etc. So be vigilant and deal with the problem as soon as it arises. (MARCOM: graphics of the 2 Schultz products: Insecticidal Soap and Insect Spray).
One last tip, do not prune or repot. Wait until late winter or early spring.