Pumpkin spice, sweater weather... All of this signifies that winter is fast approaching! And while we may start feeling some snuggly vibes, our poor plants are dreading the upcoming season.
Remember that your mini plants are mini. That means smaller pots, less insulation, and fewer roots. How can you meet these challenges and keep your plantie healthy for seasons to come?
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Pay Attention to the Temperature
Many (if not most) houseplants come from tropical regions. They don't appreciate being shocked with cold water, let alone cold air! Make sure you keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Double-check the temps that your specific plant babies need. Still, usually, if you're comfy (without being all bundled up!), they'll be pretty content too.
Keep in mind, some plants are especially vulnerable to disease during the winter months, including the African Violet. So, keep an eagle-eye out, and make any needed adjustments. One last reminder: if you set your plant baby by the window to get light, the temperatures ih that spot will be colder than what you feel. Some plants, like the Cyclamen, can withstand chillier temps. So, make sure to keep it far away from a heat source; who knows, maybe you can swap it out for one of your warmer-climate loving plants in the windowsill.
Mind The Humidity
Have you noticed that your skin gets super dried out during the winter seasons? It's because there's less humidity. And nothing strips the natural moisture from the atmosphere like hot air. We obviously cannot live without our heat sources this winter (and neither can our plants!), so what should we do?
There are several options! Many opt to get a humidifier. Some set their planties on trays of wet pebbles. And others mist their plants each morning. Whatever you decide, do a little research first! Succulents, begonias, and all fuzzy plants - like African violet and Crispy Wave - do not appreciate having wet leaves, so misting would not be a good option. For other planties, like Pilea, misting is excellent!
Back Off The Watering Can
During the winter months, many plants enter a kind of hibernation-stage. That means their roots aren't soaking in as much water; so, if you keep the same watering schedule, you're most likely going to drown your poor planties.
Crispy Wave, Fishbone Cactus, and Tradescantia are examples of a few plants that like to dry out during the winter months. This is when your expert parenting skills will become necessary. You'll need to get in tune with your plant and start feeling the dirt or observing the leaves. Remember, not enough water is always better than too much. Obviously, the ideal situation is to get it right 100% of the time, but when in doubt, wait a day to consider.
Stop Feeding Them
Would you like me to wake you up in the middle of the night to give you a snack? No matter how tasty it may be, I doubt you would appreciate it. That's essentially what you're doing when you fertilize (most) of your plants during the colder months. They're asleep! They're rebooting to start again in the spring.
By fertilizing them early, you can actually detriment their health. You can stunt their growth, yellow their leaves, or cause brown spots/tips. And since they aren't soaking up as much water, they get to sit in this fertilizer for weeks, maybe months! Not the healthiest situation. So, check to see what window of fertilization your plantie needs. There are exceptions to every rule; for example, Cyclamens go dormant in spring and summer and need fertilizing in the winter. Get to know your babies and care for them accordingly!
Change Up the Lighting
Some plants have different lighting requirements according to the seasons. And sometimes, this can work out for your benefit too! If you're acquiring a jungle of houseplants, it can be fun to do the switch-a-roo during different seasons.
Kalanchoe requires an east-facing window in the summer months (or does fine outdoors), but a south-facing window in the winter! Christmas cactus needs light to flower, but once it's done, it wants 12-14 hours of darkness a day.
Drop the Repot
Many of us like change. And when the perfect pot is on sale at TJMaxx because it's wintertime... oh, it's just so tempting! So, buy your pot. But just don't repot. As already stated, in the winter, your plantie is in a dormant state. Its roots aren't growing very much, so there's no hope of it filling up that bigger pot you have. And, in fact, if you put your leafy baby in a pot that's too large (no matter what season it is), it possible will drown or develop root rot. We could learn from plants: they like achievable goals. It will only grow in a pot it can fill... And when it's growing season! So, don't repot in the winter!
Don't Cry Over a Lost Leaf
It can be heartbreaking sometimes, though, can't it? Especially in the winter months! As the weeks seemingly creep by, we start craving for our plants to grow. And when they do the opposite, we can feel sad quickly. But, keep in mind, plants have a lifecycle, and so do their leaves. Pilea, especially, is a natural leaf dropper.
So, what should you do if you start seeing one of your leaves taking a turn for the worse? Chop it off! Plants are already running low on energy during the winter. While some "leaf-dropage" is natural, plants don't want to go down without a fight. Your green friend will start pumping all of its energy into keeping that one sorry leaf alive - really, to the downfall of the rest of the plant. This is where you need some tough love. If you get rid of the leaf now, your plantie will have more energy to stay alive until the spring (and then hopefully push out a slew of new leaves!).
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