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Winter is here and your houseplants have nothing to fear... once you’ve mastered these 5 tips to keep your tropical houseplants happy in their least favorite season.
The amount of hours of sunlight is at its shortest, we hardly open our windows to let in fresh air, the air outside is a stark contrast to the 80 degree weather most of our house plants thrive in, and we have our heaters running on high zapping any chance of humidity your house plant demands. But fear not, as long as you are aware of the problems I have some easy solutions for all your winter houseplant woes.
1. Ditch and your Watering Schedule
Don’t be mad at me. I know lots of you love the routine of watering your plants every Monday. Many of you prefer using an app to remind you once every 3 days that Peter the Pothos is thirsty. I have to break it to you that your watering schedule needs to become a plant check up instead. Here’s the reason: varying amounts of sunlight, temperatures and humidity mean varying amounts of days that the soil of your plant needs to dry out. Year round, but ESPECIALLY in the winter, these factors can change day by day. So where you MAY have been watering a plant every 2 days you may need to go 2 weeks in the winter -- or maybe not! That's precisely why you should switch to a houseplant check in schedule. It will remind you not to abandon your houseplants, but instead jumping straight to watering, give it my magic finger soil moisture test to determine if it’s time to water.
2. Cool it on the Fertilizer
Contrary to popular belief most houseplants don’t automatically slow their growth just because December rolls around. However, they do slow growth when conditions aren’t optimal to conserve energy, and it just so happens where most of us live growing conditions in our homes become quite frightful in the winter. As a result we need to take a step back from how often we fertilize our plants which could encourage our plants to keep working when they really need some time to rest. Kinda like when we keep pouring cups of coffee when we haven’t slept in days. At a certain point it can actually cause more harm than good and it’s best to just let the plants get their beauty sleep.
3. Break out the Magnifying glass and check for pests
Speaking of things that cause more harm than good when all you need is to be left alone for a good nap. PESTS. Just like it seems everyone seems to start nagging you when you are already feeling down in the dumps, pests see a struggling plant as the perfect time to wreak havoc. It really is true that a plant is more likely to be infected with a plant pest if it is already in distress. That makes winter a particularly good time to take a really - and I can’t stress this enough… REALLY - close look at your plants to make sure they don’t need to be treated for pests. Hot tip: If you don’t know what you’re looking for here is a guide to checking for pests.
4. Don’t bother repotting…. unless....
I am full of surprises today. First I said to ditch your watering and fertilizer schedules and now I’m telling you to not repot them. No, that doesn’t mean completely abandoning them during the winter, but since they’re already in distress we want to be careful not to make things any more stressful for them. While repotting is often one of those necessary stressful things that the plant feels stressed about in the short term, but allows them lots of room to grow in the long term (like moving to a new city!), the winter is not the best time to push it. Unless there is something urgent, like a plant infestation or soil so dense it is causing root rot, it is more than okay to wait until spring to move your plant to a bigger pot.
5. Put up your grow lights with your christmas lightsThis one is like extra credit. It’s not mandatory, but if you like to go the extra mile for your houseplants, adding a grow light to supplement for some of the sunlight lost in the winter will sure make your plants happy. Grow lights are specific bulbs that put out rays that the plant can use the same way it uses sunlight. There are so many great options to choose from and we hope to be able to carry them on our STYLUSH website soon!