With Labor Day behind us and summer officially over it’s time to get your indoor plants ready for the cold months ahead.
1: Check for insects
Examine your plants closely and check for any little critters that may have taken up residence on your plant. Check both the top and underside of the leaves. Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect a pair of sharp scissors to trim off any brown areas on the leaves, and remove leaves that are spent. Carefully inspect the stems and soil and remove any dead and decaying leaves.
2: Clean them up!
While the weather is still warm enough (if not use your shower/tub) take your plants outside and give them a good shower with a gentle spray. This is the perfect time to leach out any salt build-up by letting the water run freely out of the bottom of the pot. The spray will also clean off any dust that collected on the foliage. Not only will your plant look nice and clean it will also be better protected from insects that like to lurk in dusty leaves. It’s a great time to wipe down the pot while it is drying after the shower and remove any dirt or mineral build-up on the pot.
Tip: Make sure your plant is not sitting in the bright sun while outdoors, you certainly do not want your plant pal to become sunburnt!
3: Feed them one last time
After the shower, take advantage of the damp soil and let your plant enjoy a bit of fertilizer for the last time this year. Be careful not to overdo it, I suggest using a liquid all-purpose fertilizer at half strength.
During the winter, tropical indoor plants are at the mercy of drafty windows, drying furnaces, and colder temperatures in general. To help your indoor plants survive the cold winter months, follow these tips!
TIP 1: WATER LESS
Your plant will not need as much water during the winter months since most plants growth rate slows down considerably during this period. Overwatering can lead to rot root, especially in the winter. This does not mean to completely ignore them, push your finger into the soil about 2” down into the soil and only water if its dry. When you do water, be sure to water thoroughly—the roots need the water. Keep in mind, just as in the summer different plants have different needs, so get to know your plants’ individual preferences.
TIP 2: HUMIDITY IS KEY
Your plants will appreciate an increase in humidity during the winter months. Many homes are very dry due to heaters and fireplaces, and most plants are very sensitive to dry air. Grouping plants together is an easy way to create more humidity because it can create a micro-climate since plants naturally transpire by expelling water from their leaves. You can also use a humidifier near your plants or place your plants near a tray of water or even on top of stones in a tray filled with water. The idea is to add moisture to the air, not have your plant sitting in a tray of water! Misting can also help, but you really need to be consistent and do it often.
TIP 3: KEEP THE TEMP CONSISTENT
Be conscious where your plants are sitting. You may need to move them to avoid drafts or cold window panes to protect them from the cold. It is equally important to be aware of heat sources such as heating ducts, radiators, and fireplaces. Average day temperatures should range from 65-75 degrees and night no lower than 50 degrees.
TIP 4: DON’T FERTILIZE
There really isn’t a reason to fertilize your plants during the winter months because they are basically in a resting phase. Plant food at this time can do more harm than good because they will not use up the food and it will upset the natural growth cycle of the plant.
TIP 5: DUST REGULARLY
Keep your plant clean and dust free. Insects love to hide out in the dust on the leaves, which makes it hard for you to find them too. Your plant is more vulnerable in the winter because they go into a state of dormancy, which makes them prone to attacks. Also, the humidity is much lower and it becomes a perfect breeding ground for spider mites and other pests who love to hide in the dirt on leaves. Wipe your plants’ leaves regularly with a damp cloth and be sure to remove any dead or yellowing leaves with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.
ASK FOR HELP
No matter what your question is or what kind of plant you have, I am here to answer your questions and give you the encouragement you need to be the best plant parent you can be. I want to share my love and knowledge of plants with you. So let’s chat about plants!