May 04, 2022

Indoor Plant Care Tips for Winter

By Andrea Davine
Indoor Plant Care Tips for Winter

The chill is creeping in and now is the time to get yourself and your indoor plants prepared for the cold months ahead.

While it is tempting to want to keep tending to your plant babies as you normally would throughout the warmer months, autumn is an ideal time to start weening yourself off these habits.

As plant growth slows right down during the cooler season, they will require a lot less maintenance. Here are few key tips for indoor plant care in winter:

1. Watering indoor plants in winter

This is where easing up on maintenance will begin for a lot of new plant parents.

A plant’s metabolism slows right down when it is cold so it absorbs a lot less water. Indoor plants still need a drink, but not as frequently as during the warmer months. Overwatering could waterlog your plants and lead to root rot, so keep an eye on those moisture levels to keep them from drowning.

Also, keep in mind, shorter winter days means less light. As light levels usually equal watering levels, fewer daylight hours are another reason less watering is required.
Bonus tip: A moisture meter is very handy in identifying how thirsty your plant might be to prevent overwatering.

2. Fertilising indoor plants in winter

Similarly, to water, plants do not readily absorb fertilizers when it is cold. Generally, plants are not actively growing during winter, and so continuing to fertilise them could just confuse their natural cycle.

If you have been incorporating a concentrated plant food into your watering schedule, some sources recommend easing off and using it only every fourth watering or so. But stopping altogether until spring is probably equally ideal and will at least save on fertiliser.

However, keep in mind, some plants, such as succulents, are winter growers and could do with fertilising during their cold growing season.

3. Maintaining indoor plants' humidity levels in winter

Winter weather can be very drying; that, in addition to the excess use of heaters, can be very uncomfortable (and detrimental) for your plants. Try and keep those humidity levels up by applying some (or all) of the following tips:

  1. Cluster your plants together. Plants will create their own little pocket of humidity when huddled together.
  2. Place your plants in a tray on a bed of pebbles and water with the waterline sitting just underneath the pots. Ensure the plants are not sitting directly in the water.
  3. Invest in a humidifier – beneficial for plants and humans! Especially during cold and flu season.

4. Getting enough light for your indoor plants in winter

Shorter days and a change in the sun’s position might make your plant’s usual corner a little darker during winter. Consider shifting any plants that are lacking their usual amount of light due to the change in season. Just be mindful that it isn’t a dramatic move, for example, into direct sunlight on a balcony – this can be more harmful than good as the plant may experience shock from the sudden change in climate.

Give your plants the best chance of soaking up any available light by giving their leaves a good wipe down to remove excess dust.
If all else fails, grow lights are another great option in the absence of natural light.

5. Avoid re-potting indoor plants during winter.

Unless absolutely necessary, it is best to avoid re-potting your plants in the cold season. Their dormancy will not allow them to acclimate as easily after they have been re-potted. This can also cause the plant stress and any new growth will be weak and leggy. Wait until spring, when they will be strong enough to make the move and enjoy watching them flourish.

With the help of these simple indoor plant care tips for winter, both you and your plants will be entering spring happy and healthy.