Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Care Tips to Help Your Houseplants Thrive During Winter

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Winter is often an easy time for houseplant care because most plants are dormant, but just because a plant is dormant doesn’t mean you can stop caring for it. Some aspects of plant care change during the winter in response to the change of seasons. Learn how to ensure your houseplant has a restful dormancy and is ready to grow by spring with these winter care tips.

Winter Sunlight

All houseplants need some amount of sunlight to survive and thrive. Sunlight is essential all year because plants need light to conduct photosynthesis. Shorter days mean less sunlight, which can be damaging to houseplants. 

Plants that receive insufficient sunlight become leggy and can develop dull, muted colors. Increase the sunlight a houseplant receives by moving it to a brighter location. Most often, moving the plant closer to a window will suffice. A low-light area, like near a north- or east-facing window, still may not receive enough light, so consider relocating the plant set back from a south or west-facing window.

Grow lights are an excellent way to ensure your houseplant gets plenty of light during the winter. You can get a special bulb to add to a lamp or fixture already in place or a stand-alone grow light fixture. Many grow lights have a timer, so you can set the light to turn on and off, ensuring your plant gets the light it needs and you don’t have to remember to do anything.

Water Needs During Winter

Dormant plants need water less often because they are not actively growing. Less sunlight can also impact how quickly the potting mix dries out. The actual process of watering a houseplant will stay the same during the winter, but plan to water plants less often. A houseplant that needs water every seven days during the summer may need water every 10 – 12 days during the winter. Each case is unique, so check in with your plants and feel the soil before watering them.


Most houseplants are tropical and need warm temperatures. The ideal temperature varies from plant to plant, but generally, temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. Most homes are warm for houseplants, but be careful if you have forced air heating or a mini-split or heat pump system. Warm air blowing directly on a plant can be damaging. Chilly drafts from a window or exterior door can also harm and potentially kill a plant. Move plants so blasts of warm air or cold drafts do not directly impact them.

Dry Winter Air

Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, so humidity often drops during the winter. Even though your home is heated, the outdoor air temperature still impacts the air in your home. Some houseplants can handle the decrease in humidity, but dry air is bad news for many plants. Monitor the plants for signs of low humidity damage, like dry patches along the edges of leaves or curling foliage. Use a humidifier or a pebble tray to increase humidity.

Winter Wonderland

Houseplant care is often less hands-on during the winter, but your plants still need essential maintenance. Follow these tips to keep your plants happy and healthy during the winter so they’ll be ready to grow and thrive by spring.


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