How To Keep your House Plants Happy In Winter

As the Melbourne Winter starts to approach we need to start to thinking about keeping our plants happy and healthy.Here are horticulturalist David Clark’s top 10 tips to keep them smiling ( Images and words courtesy of Gardenista)!


  How to keep a houseplant happy in winter cut back on water l Gardenista

Above: Photograph by Mieke Verbijlen.

But whether you’re nursing something finicky like an African violet or a hardy Mother in Law’s tongue, your houseplants are going to have a harder time in winter. Here’s how to make them happier:

  1. Cut back on water.
  2. Give them sunshine.
  3.  Add moisture to indoor air.
  4.  Stop fertilizing until spring.
  5.  Dust your plants.
  6.  And give them a bath once in a while.
  7. Crank up the heat, then turn it way down (every day).
  8.  Avoid re-potting if possible.
  9. Conduct a weekly bug inspection.
  10.  Give sick plants a natural tonic.
  11.  Sing them lullabies (could it hurt? plants love music).

how to keep houseplants happy in winter l Gardenista

Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Water: “Most plants only need water once a week in winter,” says Clark. “They will kind of go dormant, especially if they’re plants that grow outdoors in summer and they’ve come from that bright light into a home with lower lighting and lower temperatures.”

How to keep houseplants happy in winter l Gardenista

Above: Photograph by John Merkl.

Sunshine: Put them in the sunniest spot in the house; most them to follow the sun if necessary. “Most plants will not thrive in a north-facing window because they need more sun,” says Clark. The best? A window facing east; you will get sun from 7 am to 11 am and “it’s not harsh, like what you’ll get in a western facing window,” he says.

How to keep houseplants happy in winter l Gardenista

Above: Photograph via Design Sponge.

Humidity: Most plants thrive with levels of from 50 to 60 percent humidity; in a house the humidity level can go below 35 percent. “In a situation like that, make them a little miniature greenhouse by tenting them under a big plastic bag,” says Clark. “Or take a shallow tray, fill it with 2 inches of water and gravel, and set your potted plant in it.” As the water evaporates, it will create humidity around the plant.

How to keep houseplants happy in winter on a radiator l Gardenista

Above: Photograph by Electronomo via Flickr. 

Keep plants clean: “When they get dusty, that causes plants not to breathe. It plugs their leaves, which have little pores called stomata,” says Clark. “If you cover a leaf surface with dirt, it won’t get the full effect of sunlight and photosynthesis will be slowed.”

Solution? For smaller plants, give them a bath in a sink with a sprayer. Larger plants can go into the shower. Wipe leaves with a damp sponge. Then off their leaves so they don’t drip all over the floor.


About danieltyrrell

Landscaper - Design and construction
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