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In winter, most plants don’t thrive as much as they do throughout spring and summer. The lower temperatures and light levels cause plants to enter their dormant phase. To ensure your plants are ready to bounce back next spring, it’s best if they’re predominantly left to rest in the right conditions.
When it comes to watering your plants in winter, less is more. Some plants, like succulents and cacti, pretty much need nothing at all - and most other plants can be watered every few weeks. Only winter-thriving plants like Christmas cacti need water more regularly - simply feel the soil’s moisture to test when they need watering, and don’t overdo it. Overwatering throughout winter can easily lead to soggy soil and root rot.
Winter air is dry and unforgiving, so raising the humidity around your plants can help keep them healthy over winter. This can be done by putting a humidifier nearby, placing them on pebbles raised above water, or lightly misting them.
Sunlight changes drastically at this time of year. We’re all too aware of the light changing - all of a sudden it’s pitch black when we get up for breakfast and get home from work in the evening. These changes affect our plants as much as they affect us, but you can adjust your plants’ position to ensure they’re reaping the maximum benefits.
Shift your plants to a place where they’re going to receive as many of the sun’s precious rays as possible. The sun’s angle is lower than it is during summer, so take this into account when picking their place in your home. Also, rotating your plants regularly can help them get an even distribution of sunlight over their leaves, rather than leaving them to reach in one direction for light.
Over winter, dust accumulates on your plants’ leaves. Ensure you gently dust leaves off, keeping them lovely and clean so they’re able to absorb plenty of light without any obstruction.
Fluctuating temperatures can be a killer for houseplants. Our houses can shift between being cosy and hot and freezing cold at this time of year. To avoid damaging your plants, keep them away from any extreme temperatures - this includes hot radiators and fireplaces, or cold window sills and frosty windows. Plants prefer consistent mild temperatures, so keeping them in a place that has a regular temperature will suit them best.
Toasty warm homes are ideal breeding grounds for pests, so ensure you keep an eye out for any unwanted visitors living on your houseplants.
It can be hard work being a plant parent - we totally get it! If you need any additional houseplant-related advice, we’ve got plenty of planty blogs in our archive - and if you’re buying a plant from us, we provide care guides and are more than happy to help with any concerns or questions.
First published in November 2019