Houseplant 101: Top Five Plant Parenting tips for Winter
Spending more time at home has meant many of us have developed a newfound love for houseplants! As well as beautifying your living space, houseplants can help relieve stress and enrich the air inside your house. As we enter the winter months, fluctuations in temperature and other conditions can negatively impact your indoor garden in unexpected ways, so here are our top five tips to be the best plant parent to your little pots of nature this winter.
Drier air resulting in lower humidity might be the most significant issue your houseplants will face this winter. With most plants preferring a humidity level of around 50%, your heater is the enemy. It's worth investing in a humidifier and placing your plants near it, but there are other options. Grouping your plants closely in more 'moist' areas like the kitchen or bathroom can help, as the water they naturally release through leaves can be repurposed by the other plants. Placing them above or close to a dish of water can also help with raising the humidity.
Let there be light
Winter means days are shorter, and sunlight is scarcer! Light is a critical element of photosynthesis, the process your houseplants use to convert carbon dioxide and water into food. If you notice you're only getting good light in certain areas inside, move your plants to the best-lit rooms and windows to ensure that they're getting the light they need. Keeping windows clean will maximise the light amount of light coming in. Make sure to rotate the pots each time you give them a water, so all sides of the plant get some sun to help them grow evenly rather than stretching to reach the light.
Temperature is key
Though chilly mornings and evenings mean we're more likely to have the heater running during winter; it's important to remember that most Houseplants prefer temperatures between 18 - 25 degrees celsius. Preferred temperatures can vary depending on species, so it's worth researching the preferred temperatures of your precious plants! Fluctuations in temperature can damage your plants' health, so as a rule, try to keep them clear of cold drafts and away from heaters or fireplaces.
Overwatering can be a big issue throughout winter, especially with succulents and cacti, so give your plants time to dry thoroughly between watering. When you're watering your plants, the best way is to run them under the kitchen tap. After giving them a good drenching (the water should run through the soil and out the bottom of the pot), put them back in their saucers, and tip off any water that drips out as they sit.
Winter means less sunlight and hotter temperatures when we're blasting heaters, which can lead to some unwelcome guests paying a visit to your plants. Keep a close eye out for critters like mealybugs and fungus gnats, and make sure to act quickly if you spot any.