It starts with a familiar chill in the air that signals the seasons are changing and fall is just around the corner. You know what to expect next: cozy sweaters, heavy blankets, and the never ending debate about all things pumpkin spice. And it’s also time to prepare your indoor plants for the cooler months!
We all have to adjust our lifestyles for the colder seasons, and so do our plants. Here are some of the best tips to set your indoor plants up for a comfortable fall and winter.
Find That Perfect Hibernation Location
Some plants are fussier than others when it comes to the consistency of their temperature and light exposure. To avoid major temperature swings, place them in locations away from heating units and drafty doors or windows, and try to avoid dropping the thermostat too low. Certain plants prefer higher temps than others, but in general 65+ degrees F will keep most indoor plants happy.
For sun loving plants, you may have to move them around every few weeks to follow where the sunlight is strongest. If your indoor space is particularly sunlight scarce, consider investing in grow lights to help tropical plants achieve their daily dose of light.
Certain plants require very little light to thrive, including the infamously hardy ZZ Plant.
Keep in mind that many indoor plants experiencing fluctuating light and heat with the changing seasons will go through periods of dormancy in the cooler months. This is completely natural! Think of it as the plant equivalent of a bear hibernating. Dormancy will affect how often you water and feed your plant.
Water less often
Water evaporates more slowly in cooler and more shaded rooms, which tends to be the case in most buildings through fall and winter. This means that for most plants, you’ll need to reduce water volume and water less frequently. Each plant will let you know their new watering schedule by checking soil moisture for the top two inches of soil. Many indoor plants will require around a third of the water they typically take in the summer months.
Plants need fewer nutrients in the winter because they’re not growing as fast. Reduce fertilizing by at least half or halt it completely until springtime. Most indoor plants are trying to conserve their energy during this time so they require a lot less food!
Prune and wipe down leaves
This is the ideal time to prune back any plants that have outgrown the past season’s accommodations. Remove all brown leaves, and prune back plants that have grown particularly “leggy” or lopsided. Plants with broader leaves, such as the Fiddle Leaf Fig and Monstera deliciosa, need to have their leaves occasionally wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dust buildup and allow them to soak in more sunlight.
Get off the Fuss Bus
These are some of the basics to ensure your indoor plants stay happy and healthy in the colder seasons. Most plants will surprise you with their resiliency, so don’t fret over them too much!
Remember that less is more: hold off on repotting plants until the beginning of spring. Root growth is slow this time of year and soil stays wet for longer in bigger pots, risking overwatering your plants and causing root rot. Think of their current pot as a warm, snug cabin perfect for resting, sipping seasonal beverages, and playing board games through the winter...too far?