Preparing your house plants for winter

Whether we like it or not, winter is coming. The jumpers, hats and scarves are coming out and I’m working from home in my dressing gown and I don’t care if the postman sees me!

While we adapt to the cold by adding layers, we need to make sure our plants are ready to face the change in season. Here’s a few things you can do to help:

1. Plants need time to rest after a period of growth. If you continue to feed them regularly, they will try to keep growing which can put them under strain. Cut back on the fertiliser for the next few months.

2. Light! As we see the amount of available light lessen, you need to move your plants closer to it to benefit from it. While they would have struggled by a South facing window in summer, with the strength of the sun less so, now is the time to move them next to it. If you don’t have enough windows for all your plants, it’s worth investing in a few grow lights – there are some relatively inexpensive ones available on Amazon. Before moving any, check how much light they need as some will be more tolerant of shade than others.

3. Dust accumulating on your leaves can stop them from photosynthesising as efficiently – a wipe down of their leaves with a damp cloth can help.

4. Plants aren’t big fans in large fluctuations in temperature – avoid areas where they may feel a draught or too close to a radiator or fireplace.

5. While we need to put the heating on as the temperature outside drops, it can create an ideal environment for pests. Check your plants regularly, on both sides of their leaves.

6. Watering – reduce this over the winter months. There may be some plants such as Cacti

that need hardly any water during this season. Even if the surface of the soil feels dry, stick your finger a few inches down and see whether it’s wet or dry there. If it does need a drink, use room temperature water. When you do water them, make sure to rotate them when you put them back in place, so that all sides get their time in the sun.

7. Increase the moisture in the air – heating takes a lot of the moisture out of the air, so you can help your plants by putting some back in. There are a few ways you can do this – one is a humidifier, there are lots of different types, some more expensive than others. Or you could add a pebble tray, filled with water and put the pot on top of it – just make sure the plant isn’t sitting in water.

If you’re looking to buy some plants to green your house over the winter months, here are some of our hardiest plants:

1. Aloe – it needs bright light so would need to be near a window but is fine with dry conditions so no need to worry about pebble trays or humidifiers.

2. Snake Plant/Sansevieria – the hardiest of plants, this plant will be fine in lower light and doesn’t need humidity to get through the winter.

3. Cactus – they need very little water if any through the winter and are happy in dry conditions.

4. Rubber Plants – Ficus Robusta/Tineke/Belize – these will be fine in medium light conditions.

5. Fiddle Leaf Fig. Once it’s adjusted to its new environment, your Fiddle Leaf Fig will be able to cope in its new home – it does like warmth and some light.

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