Almost every home, office and building has one or more indoor plants. Indoor plants are now a major part of every household because they serve different purposes ranging from aesthetics to health-related functions inside a building.
They brighten up spaces and give our homes and offices a natural look and feel. They improve the air we breathe by reducing carbon dioxide levels and increasing air humidity. Also, they make our environment more relaxing, conducive and sustainable.
If you have indoor plants in your apartment, office or any other building, then you know how difficult it is to keep them happy and healthy during winter. Winter is generally not the best weather for most living things.
During winter, there is not enough sunlight during the day and because of the cold, you need to run your heater throughout the day. This makes the air dry and less favorable for indoor plants.
Just like human beings, plants also feel the impact of the weather. But unlike you and me, these plants cannot take care of themselves and they need us to take care of them during winter. A lot of work goes into maintaining and caring for indoor plants throughout the year, but more effort is required during winter. Here are a few ways you can help your indoor plants survive winter.
How To Care For Indoor Plants During Winter
Keep Your Indoor Plants in an Environment That Replicates Their Natural Habitat
When you keep plants indoors, you are taking them away from their natural habitat. Thus, you have to create an environment for your plants to thrive indoors without their usual exposure to natural light and rain.
The best way to do this is to study the native environment of each plant and replicate the same. While some plants thrive in a humid environment with little sunlight, other plants do well in dry environments and need much exposure to sunlight to flourish.
You can keep plants that flourish in humid environments in humid places in your home or office such as the bathroom, toilet or kitchen. You can keep plants that do not need direct exposure to sunlight away from the windows. You can keep plants that love sunlight you close to a window and in places with more space like a parlor or open spaces.
Plants need light to feed and grow – photosynthesis. There is hardly enough light during the day in winter and your plants may not be getting as much light as they should. This affects plants.
Generally, the best way to ensure that your plants have enough access to light is to move your plants closer to a direct source of light. It could be a window or an open rooftop. Plants just need to see some light. Ensure that the plants are properly positioned so that they don’t grow towards the source of light.
The trick is to make your indoor plants feel at home despite the weather. We do this too as human beings. We turn the heater up during winter and keep the air conditioner on during summer. We wear different outfits for different weather to adapt to the environment. So, we need to assist plants to adapt too by making the environment more suitable during winter.
Mist Your Indoor Plants
Misting is an effective way to keep your indoor plants healthy and flourishing all year. Misting is ideal for tropical plants or plants that thrive in humid environments. Most indoor plants are tropical plants and misting will help them thrive during winter. Besides, misting is a proven method for reviving dehydrated plants.
One great thing about this method is that it is cost-effective. All you will need is a mist spray bottle and water. You can purchase a new spray bottle solely for this purpose or you can simply wash an empty product spray bottle and convert it to your misting tool.
It takes less than five minutes to mist your plants daily. All you need to do is fill the mist spray bottle with water and spray the water on the leaves of your indoor plants. The best time to mist your plants is in the morning. This will keep the plants moist during the day and the surrounding atmosphere humid.
It is not a good idea to mist at night as it can promote disease and pests infestation. This will have an adverse on your indoor plants and you want healthy and not diseased or infested plants.
Apart from keeping your plants green and healthy, misting also keeps pests away from your plants and keeps your plant’s dust and dirt free. It is like giving your plants a refreshing bath and this will help your indoor plants breathe better during winter.
Water Your Indoor Plants Regularly
Watering plants is the basic way to care for your indoor plants. Plants need enough water and moisture to survive. While outdoor the plants rely on water in the atmosphere and rain during the rainy season to survive, indoor plants have less access to water. Indoor plants do not get water from the atmosphere or rain. Thus, you need to water them often especially during winter.
Watering frequently does not mean daily as the soil keeps in moisture for days. Plants can go days without water and still flourish. However, you must observe your indoor plants for a few days and create a schedule that works for your plants.
To know if your plants need to be watered, you can dip your fingers into the soil to check if it is moist. If the lower so is moist you can skip watering the plants that day. However, if you can only feel the moisture on the surface of the topsoil, or if the topsoil is loose, you should water your plant.
Another sign that you need to water your plants is when the leaves start browning. This normally begins from the edges of the leaves and may not be obvious initially. Therefore, you need to check your plant leaves frequently. Browning is a symptom of a lack of moisture and dehydration.
Also, drooping leaves are a sign that your plants need to be watered. This may be difficult to tell if the leaves of your plants droop naturally.
The easiest way to keep up with watering your plants is to create a schedule as soon as you understand the moisture requirements of your indoor plants. Also, It is advisable to water your plants with distilled water. This is because plants need water with low chloride and distilled water has low chloride. Alternatively, you could use filtered water.
When watering your indoor plants, you should ensure that the soil absorbs as much water as possible but it should not be waterlogged. Pests can breed in waterlogged soil and attack your plant. There are two ways to water your plants.
If your plant pot has drainage you can run the water through repeatedly until the soil absorbs enough water. If your plant is not in a drainage pot, you can put enough water to cover the pit, leave it for some time and sieve any excess water. The goal is to soak the soil with enough water so that the roots can absorb water.
Also, try not to get obsessed with watering your plants or water your plants. This is why a schedule is important so you don’t water your plants on impulse and drown your plants.
Use a Humidity Tray to Increase Humidity
A humidity tray provides moisture for plants by making the environment humid. It is also called the pebble tray method and most gardeners testify that indoor plants thrive better when you use a humidity tray.
A humidity tray is very simple to make and It is also cost-effective just like other care methods discussed above. All you need to do is get a tray or a hollow bowl and fill it with pebbles. Then, place the plant pots in the tray and pour water into the tray. The pebbles will keep the plant pots above water. If you put the pot directly on the water, the roots will be sitting on the water and you do not want that.
A humidity tray increases the humidity around the plant. It performs the same function as a humidifier. So if you want your indoor plants to be lush and healthy during winter, you should consider making a humidity tray for your indoor plants.
Group Your Plants
Plants love company. They enjoy being in the company of their kind especially when indoors. You can increase humidity by clustering plants together. Plants release water into the air as they transpire and this increases the humidity level.
Grouping plants does not mean planting different plants in one pot but means bringing the individual plants together and reasonably apart. You do not want the plants to be too close. If the plants are too close to each other, the leaves will come together to trap moisture. Also, if you plant too many plants in one pot, It would be difficult to transfer them to different pots when they are mature enough. Thus, you should keep plants in separate pots but keep the plants together. You can keep small plants in between tall plants.
Apart from keeping your plants alive and healthy, clustering your plants also improves the aesthetics of your home, office or building. You can get creative and come up with amazing patterns and plants to grow up your plants in order to get beautiful arrangements.
Use a Humidifier
The average humidity level in buildings during winter is low. Plants require a humidity level above 50 to thrive and you can increase the humidity by putting on a humidifier. You can use a hydrometer to measure the humidity level in your building and set your humidifier accordingly. The humidifier should be kept beside your plants to increase the humidity around the plants and in your building generally. This will keep your plants looking lush and healthy during winter.
There are DIY alternatives to a humidifier. Apart from the humidity tray already discussed above, you can increase the humidity level by filling empty pots and bowls with water and keeping them around your indoor plants. When the water evaporates, it increases the humidity level of the atmosphere and makes the environment conducive for plants.
Prune and Trim Your Indoor Plants Frequently
While some leaves may come back to life as soon as you start taking proper care of the plants, some will not survive the winter. Some leaves will start drooping and eventually remain so. Some others will go from a healthy green color to a pale brown color. Thus, there may be a need to trim and prune the brown and lifeless looking leaves.
It is advisable to trim and prune your indoor plants frequently. Pruning helps refresh your plants and encourage new growth. Also, it improves the aesthetic appearance of the plants. I am sure you want your building to be filled with green plants and not brown plants.
There is a slight difference between pruning and trimming. If your plants have brown tips, you need to trim them off. But if the leaf is completely brown, then you need to prune it or snip it from the tip. No amount of care will make the completely brown leaves to become green again.
On a final note, it is possible to have healthy and lush indoor plants during winter. You should observe your plants and understand what works best for them. You can then come up with additional tricks and a proper routine to care for your plants during the winter. There is no foolproof strategy and you must work to keep your plants healthy. The strategies discussed above of a good place to start from. The good thing about these tips is that they are cost-effective and will help you keep your plants healthy during winter and in other seasons too as they are also general tips.