Winter is a challenging time for us all. Dark days. Seasonal depression. It's no easy feat for us, and our plants don't find it any easier either. Cooler weather and lower light levels are combined with the warm, dry air from the central heating, a recipe for stressed and unhealthy plants. However, with some small tweaks to your care routine you can help ensure your plants thrive through winter.
Light is the most important thing you can give your plant this winter. Without light, the plant won't use the water at its roots. A recipe for rot. Ambient light levels are much lower through winter and so those plants you moved away from the window can be moved much closer so they receive plenty of indirect sunlight. Alternatively you can use grow lights if you don't have a suitable window.
Even with ideal placement of your plant, it's important to be careful with watering. With reduced water usage, plants in winter can survive much drier than they would in summer. It's important to water your plants regularly, but allow the soil to dry out much more between waterings. At home I water everything 2-3 weeks and lean on the side of keeping the plants drier rather than wet. In summer I soak the pots through, in winter just a little water to make sure the soil isn't completely bone dry. In winter, overwatering can lead to root rot very quickly due to the cooler temperatures and darker light levels, so be sure to check the moisture level in the soil regularly. Less really is more!
On top of careful watering and increased light, it's essential your plants also get consistent temperatures and adequate humidity to stay healthy. As a rule of thumb, 15C is the minimum recommended temperature for most houseplants. Many will do okay below this, but equally some may suffer below 18-19C. If you are riding at the bottom of these limits, please keep watering to a minimum. If you are growing in semi-hydro, make sure you keep your plant warm! 20C as a minimum.
If you have the central heating on, it's also important to increase the humidity by misting your plants with water, using a humidifier, or placing them on a tray of moist gravel. If you don't have these, simply grouping them together can help create localised humidity. This will help ensure you don't get crispy tips.
Lastly it's important the temperature is consistent, in winter this is mostly ensuring protection from drafts, which can cause the plants to dry out or get localised damage. The easiest way is to move them away from doors, keep them away from windows which may be opened, and don't keep them near heating vents.
Sometimes in winter it's easy to feel demoralised when you plants start to suffer but by following these easy tips, it's easy to ensure you help your houseplants thrive throughout the winter. Most importantly, just remember that spring will be here soon and they'll be taking off in no time!