Winter houseplant care

Winter care for your houseplants

10th July 2017

Everyone needs a little R and R, right? Well, for houseplants winter is the time to get it! During cooler months, conditions for growing are poor – just think of dramatically reduced daylight hours, the harsh, dry air, and cold temperatures — not ideal for growing… Follow these tips to keep your houseplants in shape throughout winter.


Remember these words: neglect with respect. Simply put, most houseplants don’t need as much water during the winter season. Once a week, test the moisture level: if the soil is dry at a 2-inch depth the plant needs water). Water thoroughly and allow the water to drain completely. If the plant has a saucer, dump any excess water after an hour or so. Obviously, there are certain plants that prefer being moist at all times. If you don’t know what your plants require, Google it! 


Houseplants, like people, need food to perform, especially when they are actively growing. Spring and summer are necessary feeding months; however during winter, feeding is not necessary. If you do fertilise, do it sparingly. Dilute the fertiliser by 50% or more. Once you see the plant setting new growth (typically in late August or September) you may start feeding again.


Winter is a great time to do some housecleaning on your plants. Removing accumulated dust and debris helps the plant breathe and to look good. Also, a good cleaning will help wash away unwanted pests. A simple bubble bath by hand is all it takes: be sure the water is tepid and use a diluted solution of liquid dishwashing liquid and water. Place the plant in a sink and sponge off the leaves with the warm soapy water. Finish by wiping the leaves once more with clean water. You can place larger plants in the shower to sponge off the leaves. Then use the shower head to rinse the leaves. Allow the plant to drain thoroughly before returning it to its original location.

Other tips:

• Keep houseplants away from cold drafts and vents

• Watch that foliage doesn’t touch windows

• Many houseplants prefer a humidity level of 40 to 50 percent. Humidifiers are an option for increasing humidity in your home. Contrary to popular belief, misting houseplants does not raise humidity.

• Fill a large saucer with gravel and add water to raise the humidity around the plant but take care that the bottom of the pot is not sitting in water.

• Don’t repot in winter. Wait until new growth appears in the spring.