Winter indoor plant care regime

September 23, 2021

Although your house plants are living indoors, the internal environment will be affected by the weather outside and it’s important to take cognisance of the changes in light and temperature over the winter months when caring for your plants.

Here are a few tips for a wintertime caring regime to keep your tropical beauties thriving.

Tip 1 – Light

Philodendron xanadu grabbing some winter sun

We know the days are shorter now than summer, but to give you a guide of the impact, in Central Scotland there are 17 and a half daylight hours in July, compared to the turn of the year, in January, when there are just seven. But, when the darkness descends, we tend to switch to ambient indoor lighting as we cosy in for the winter – a stark contrast to the bright and more intense sunlight that floods through our windows during summer months, and this will impact our plants.  You may therefore need to think about moving plants to ensure they can grab that sunshine and turn regularly. Observe your windows to check which receive the most sunlight throughout a day and make sure they are sparkling to maximise the penetration of the sun’s rays. Dusting the plants leaves will help with light absorption too.

Tip 2 – Temperature

Once you have moved your tropical plants to the windowsill, don’t shut them out in the cold by closing the curtains over them at night, trapping them in colder air. Typically, tropical plants enjoy a relatively even temperature and while they will cope with variations don’t let the temperature dip below 12 degrees centigrade and avoid placing plants directly next to radiators, fires, cookers or other heat sources.

Tip 3 – Watering

Overwatering in winter is a common problem and can lead to root rot when it becomes difficult for the plant to recover. Although central heating systems may lead to dryer air during winter, plants need less water as their growth rate slows. If the top 3-5 cm of compost is dry, it’s ok, you need to check further down by sticking your finger into the compost and feeling for moisture at a depth of around 6 -7 cm. If it is dry here too, then you can give your plant a drink. After watering your plant, sit it on a saucer and if water gathers pour it away to avoid waterlogging. A further tip when it comes to watering – use tepid water as the water from the cold tap during winter can be rather chilly and may shock your plant.

Tip 4 – Feeding

During winter your plants are resting rather than growing, so they don’t need to be fed. Simple as that.

Tip 5 – Pests

The combination of indoor heating and reduced light can create a more fertile breeding ground for pests such as spider mites and mealy bug. Keep checking your plants thoroughly and regularly throughout the winter and treat any infestations as soon as possible.

So, that’s our top tips to keep your plants healthy throughout the winter. We hope you found this blog helpful and look out next month for some information on common pests and how to deal with them.