(WHTM) – The thermometer is starting to drop in Pennsylvania and soon the days will become shorter. The change in seasons means it’s time for a change in your houseplant care routine.
Here’s how to keep your houseplants healthy as the temperatures fall:
Bring plants inside
First off, if you moved any houseplants outside for a sub-bathing vacation in the warmer months, it’s time to bring them back inside. This needs to be done before the first frost of the season.
Sunlight causes plants to need more water. During the fall and winter, they receive less light and therefore do not need to be watered as much as they do in the warmer seasons. For example, if you normally water a plant once a week, it should be watered once every two weeks.
As a general rule, only water a plant if the soil is dry. You will notice that the soil will usually take longer than normal to dry out in the winter.
Increase exposure to natural light
Houseplants are going to get less sun in the colder seasons regardless of their location, but to maximize the amount they are receiving they should be moved as close to the window as possible. If they are normally on a table beside a window, consider moving them to the sill.
Regulate the temperature
Temperature extremes are not good for plants. Most houseplants thrive at 75°F. Keep plants away from cold drafts, open windows, heating units, fireplaces and radiators. If a plant experiences an extreme temperature change it will become shocked and stressed.
Colder temperatures outside usually mean homes have the heat pumping. This causes the air to be drier and the humidity levels to be very low. Plants need humidity levels between 40% and 50% and most winter homes are 10% – 20% humidity. The easiest way to increase humidity for plants is to place all of your houseplants together in the same location. The water that evaporates from the plants will cause the humidity to increase in the area around them. Misting plants will also help.
Stop the fertilizer
Plants are not going to grow as much in the colder months. In fact, they may stop growing entirely. Because of this, they do not need fertilizer starting in the fall. You can begin applying fertilizer again in the spring.
Clean your plants
The presence of dust and dirt can increase in the colder seasons. If either of these build up on your plants, it will decrease the amount of light they are receiving. It is important to make sure this doesn’t happen because of the already low amount of light they are getting in the fall and winter.
Check your plants often for dust and dirt and when you see any, dust the leaves off carefully with a wet cloth. For best practices, do this every two to three weeks.
Watch for pests
Common winter pests for houseplants include aphids and spider mites because they will be looking for warm and dry places to stay. Check on the leaves and stems often to ensure your plants don’t have any dangerous, unwanted critters on them. If you see a couple, wipe them off. If you believe there is an infestation, try an eradication method.
Do not repot
The repoting of household plants should only be done when they are actively growing in the spring and summer. Moving them to a new pot while they are dormant can shock them.