Adjusting your indoor plant care routine during seasonal transitions is vital to maintaining healthy, long-lasting greenery.

By Kelly Manning
December 30, 2020
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Cooling temperatures and shorter daylight hours can have an adverse affect on our moods and may even require an adjustment to our daily regimens. Believe it or not, our indoor house plants are no different. They are also affected by the turn of weather—and this calls for a revised care routine that's tailored to their seasonal needs. Ahead, we share tips to help you establish a new plant-care regimen that will keep your varieties alive and well until spring.

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Credit: Annie Schlechter

Adjust Your Watering Schedule

Once we set our clocks back for daylight savings, we experience fewer daylight hours, which means our plants have less time to absorb energy provided by sunlight. "Light is food for plants," says Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill. "It's the most important factor in them thriving and staying alive." A reduction in energy production results in your plants needing less water than in spring and summer, when they're working harder; so, if you follow a weekly watering routine, Marino suggests adjusting your schedule to bi-weekly. Most importantly, check in with your varieties and pay close attention to their soil conditions before you water. Does the soil seem dry, or is it moist? If you experience the latter, hold off: Remaining flexible during the change in seasons will allow you to adjust your watering routine to fit your plants' specific needs.

Move Plants Closer to Light Sources

Assess the amount of natural light your plants receive in their current location. Greenery dispersed throughout your home may be suitable during the spring and summer, but now that sunlight isn't streaming in the same way, your plants may not be receiving enough light in their previous homes. Relocate plants closer to windows in an effort to increase their exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, you can group plants beneath a grow lamp if natural sources are still inadequate.

Create Humidity

It's no secret that plants love humidity, so when dry-as-it-gets winter rolls around, take matters into your own hands. "Many of our house plants are from tropical environments and are accustomed to high humidity," says Marino. "As the air becomes dryer, this can affect them in a negative way." She suggests clustering plants together or placing them on a pebble-lined tray, all of which will increase moisture in the surrounding environment. Another alternative is to set up a humidifier. Marino cautions against simply spritzing plants to add moisture, which "won't really help because the humidity dissipates. Your plant needs something more constant."

Avoid Heat Sources

Be mindful as to where you're arranging your plants. If exposed to direct heating sources, like air vents, your plant's soil will quickly dry out. Likewise, when placing houseplants near windows make sure they aren't being hit with cold drafts of air, which can cause stress.

Keep Up with Pruning

As your plants begin to enter a dormant-like state in late fall and winter, you may notice leaves beginning to yellow. Go ahead and prune these leaves so your plant doesn't expel precious energy trying to save them. Remember: Your plant is already getting less sunlight because of shorter daylight hours and, therefore, needs to conserve its energy.

Stop Fertilizing

When the seasons change from warm to cool, stop fertilizing your houseplants. They're no longer in a state of growth, explains Marino, and don't require these additional nutrients. If fact, maintaining a feeding routine can do more harm than good.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
February 16, 2021
I have a Christmas cactus that is trying to die and I was wanting to know what I need to do to get it healthy again?
Anonymous
February 16, 2021
I have a Christmas cactus that is trying to die and I was wanting to know what I need to do to get it healthy again?