Green Circle Growers Blog

Houseplants Require Different Care in Winter

Green Circle Growers - Friday, January 14, 2011

Short days and chilly temperatures signal birds to fly south, squirrels to build up their nut supply, and bears to curl up in their dens. Outdoor plants also enter a state of hibernation during the winter until spring warms the earth and triggers new growth. Most people think that because indoor plants live in the same environment year round they maintain a constant rate of growth and require the same care throughout the year. This misconception can take a toll on houseplants and lead to their failure.

Unless they are exposed to artificial light for lengthy periods of time, indoor plants mimic their outdoor cousins and enter a resting state from October through April. Most houseplants receive necessary light requirements from the sunlight that pours through the windows of your home. As winter approaches, the days become shorter and the sun sits lower in the sky. Less sunlight and less intense sunlight filters through your home’s windows and houseplants respond. In winter, plant systems slow and indoor plants require fewer nutrients and less water to maintain their beauty. Compared to warmer spring and summer months, little plant growth occurs during the fall and winter resting period.

Indoor plant owners who fail to decrease watering and fertilizing routines can wind up over-watering or over-fertilizing their houseplants, causing root rot and plant failure. Lack of humidity can also take a toll on indoor plants, particularly tropical varieties. Most tropical plants require 80% humidity, but forced air heat from your furnace can drop your home’s indoor humidity level below 20%. If you notice scorched leaves or brown spots on indoor houseplants, use a room humidifier to increase air moisture can stabilize plants.