How to keep your houseplants healthy as the weather changes
Brrr, it’s getting chilly out there! Is it just us, or has autumn sprung out of nowhere? Now that the weather’s changing, you should make an extra effort to keep your houseplants healthy. Spring and summer are the growing months, but keeping your green beauties alive during autumn and winter is simple with a little forward planning and sprucing.
Enjoy green times all season long by following our top tips on how to keep your houseplants healthy as the weather changes. We hope you have fun finding out more, plant people!
1. Check on your plants
When the weather gets colder and the seasons change to autumn and winter, check on your plants. Sudden temperature drops can cause leaves to discolour and drop. Make sure you check for signs of damage to give yourself enough time to reverse it and keep your botanicals alive and well throughout the chillier months. Generally, plants need time to rest so let them do just that over autumn and winter.
2. Provide one final feed
An important step in your cold-weather care routine is to give your botanicals one last feed this autumn. We don’t actually recommend feeding your plants over winter, as this is when they go into a dormant phase. This basically means they won’t benefit from further feeding. They also need this time to rest, and encouraging them to grow will put your plants under too much strain, causing weak growth when they reawaken in the spring.
You can give your green beauties a little final boost using our Plantsmith Fortifying Houseplant Tonic. With 13 essential nutrients and kelp extract to stimulate cell growth, it nourishes plants and produces strong, healthy leaves. This is perfect for keeping your houseplants healthy and ensuring your botanicals remain beautiful, even throughout autumn and winter.
3. Clear debris and check for bugs
The next step is to look closely for any bugs that may have appeared over the summer. Warm, cosy homes attract common household pests, leaving your plants at risk of irreversible damage. Remove and treat any pests where possible. And dare we say it, compost the plant if it doesn’t improve. It’s not worth risking your other plants to attempt to save one that won’t make it.
The most common pests to look out for include, whitefly, spider mites and scale insects. We recommend spraying your plants with our 100% natural Plantsmith Protecting Bug Control Spray to keep the most common pests; Mealybugs, spider mites and scale all under control.
These tiny white heart-shaped flies are piercing and sucking insects that can weaken a plant, they like the colder weather. As a general rule, make sure your plants are healthy and they’ll be less susceptible to an infestation.
It’s difficult to see spider mites with the naked eye, but they cause lots of damage if left untreated. Spider mites cause the upper sides of leaves to become mottled before shrivelling up and dying. Look for visible traces of fine webbing.
Scale insects are sap-sucking creatures that look like tiny brown limpets. They usually appear on stems and under leaves. Over time, they form large colonies and weaken their host.
4. Healthy houseplants thrive in brighter positions
As it’s getting darker earlier in the evenings, your plants will be getting less light. Think about moving them closer to a light source to ensure you keep your houseplants healthy. Pop your botanicals closer to a sunny windowsill – just make sure you aren’t drawing a curtain or blind in front of them and inadvertently leaving them out in the cold!
Drought loving plants, like cacti and succulents, need lots of warmth and light, so they’re definitely ones to keep an eye on in autumn and winter.
5. Reduce watering
In general, your green beauties will need less watering during autumn and winter. As a result, reduce how much you give your botanicals to drink. Dormant plants don’t need much water. In fact, too much will cause it to accumulate at the bottom of the pot and destroy the roots, causing weak growth.
As a rule of thumb, only water your plants once a fortnight at most throughout the colder seasons. Succulents only really need a drink every 4-6 weeks, while cacti can go without until spring rolls around. Be mindful of your watering routine for plants in warmer heated rooms, as they might still be drying out quickly.
6. Be mindful of heating
Because the days are getting colder, you might be thinking about putting the heating on (we certainly are!). As your heating switches on, check that your plants don’t dry out quicker, particularly floor standing plants on heated floors or plants placed near radiators. Check they aren’t too dry by pushing your thumb into the top layers of soil. If it feels dry, give your botanicals a good drink to rehydrate them.
Plants in warm, heated rooms can dry out quickly. However, with much less sunlight throughout the colder seasons, they are likely to need less watering overall. Keeping your houseplants healthy while changing their living conditions can be tricky, so be mindful when it’s time to turn the heating on!
7. Rotate your plant
Another top tip to keep your botanicals looking beautiful and healthy is to rotate your plant. As we’ve already touched upon, there’s much less light at this time of year, and plants grow towards the light. For a nice, even shape, rotate your plants once a week during autumn and winter and watch your green beauties thrive, even on chilly days.
8. Do a spot of pruning
The next step is to clear off any debris and dead leaves from the top layer of soil. Trim any lower yellow leaves to freshen up your plant and keep it looking its best. You should also trim off any damaged leaves to give them a refresh. This will encourage your plant to direct nutrients to the healthy leaves instead of wasting its energies on the dead ones.
9. Move away from drafts and radiators
While you may be tempted to keep your plants as warm as possible, look at their position to make sure they’re not too close to a draft, radiator or fireplace. If they are, move your botanicals away from them to make sure they’re not exposed to extreme temperature changes. As we’ve mentioned, sudden drops or rises in warmth will cause your plants to become stressed and they can even go into shock.
10. Dust your houseplants to keep them healthy
Another step in your autumn/winter care routine is to keep those leaves dust-free. Dust your plants to ensure they’re able to absorb as much light as possible. Most houseplants accumulate a layer of dust over time, which reduces the amount of light the leaves get. This makes it difficult for them to make food through photosynthesis. To keep your houseplants healthy, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or spritz them with our Plantsmith Beautifying Leaf Shine for a gorgeous glossy finish.
Indoor plants that can stand heat and cold
Looking for a plant that only needs a little TLC during autumn and winter? The following houseplants are super easy to care for and will thrive even when it’s cold and dark outside.
The ZZ Plant, or the Zamioculcas, has gorgeous dark green leaves and adds texture to any home or office space. It’s perfect for newbie plant owners as it’s willing to be somewhat neglected and can survive with little water and no light – making it ideal for the dark and chilly autumn/winter months.
The Crassula (aka the Jade Plant) is another fabulous cold-weather plant. It’s happy to tolerate warm and colder conditions and can withstand low-light conditions easily enough. As long as you keep up with a monthly watering routine and give it a little bit of sunlight, it’ll last through to spring and summer.
Also known as the Sansevieria and the Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, the hard-leaved tropical Snake Plant is happy to live in partially shaded areas. You can also let the soil become dry to the touch between watering, so don’t be afraid of letting it go without water for a while.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to keep your houseplants healthy in winter. As ever, if you need any more hints or tips, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help. We’ll see you soon, plant people!
Lots of love, Team TLB xx