Have you ever noticed before daylight savings time it gets dark around 9pm, but after daylight savings time it gets dark at 4pm? Something is amiss. There are hours missing and I want to know where they went. And while you're at it, please also find out where the warm weather went and bring it back.
Some mammals think it's so cold and boring they sleep it off until the spring. Caring for yourself during winter consists of staying warm and watching Netflix, but how do you care for a plant? I'm glad you asked, because below you'll find the Official Guide to the 4 Ways to Care for Your Plant During Winter.
1. Light, and more light.
With the sun now setting around 4pm, plants getting proper light is more important than ever. If you're in the mood to re-arrange your space, try to move as many high-medium light plants over to your window sill and patio door.
Plants make their own food by combining carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil. In order to power this process, the plant uses energy from the sun. It's basically the equivalent of humans getting energy from sleep, and I don't need to tell you what happens to us when we don't get enough sleep.
So check your plant setup, do an inventory check, and see what kind of light your plant requires. If you don't know what kind of plant you have, or how to take care of it you can check our consistently updated Plant Care section to find yours.
Last thing is #5 in the Fall Edition of Seasonable Care
Plants can be incredibly adaptive. Much like our body gets Vitamin D from artificial light like tanning beds, plants can have similiar effects even from just house lights or LEDs. If you really want your plant to thrive you can get them a LED Full Spectrum Growth Light which will simulate the sun. Keep it on them as the sun begins to set for a few hours and your plant will thank you.
2. Dial Back Your Watering Schedule, But Not Completely
As mentioned in the first point, plants get nutrients from water in soil. Plant roots don't have mouths to give water to, so they use their roots to absorb the water and nutrients. Much like mammals, plants slow down in the winter too. Winter is like the universal time for rest and recovery and plants partake in this tradition. Plants still drink water, just at a much slower rate.
So give your plants water, enough to drink at a slower rate. Don't give them too much, because who wants to swim in the winter anyways?
3. Watch the Temperature, and the Heat Source
A lot of indoor house plants are from tropical regions. Their huge green leaves, and prickly cacti spines are designed for the amazing warm weather location from which they came from.
Winters are completely opposite of that in North America. They're dry, cold, and lack a good heat source. While it may seem logical then to place your plants by your heater, that can bring a lot of negative side effects with it. Heaters produce a massive amount of dry air, but plants like humidity. If you have any plants on your heater, make sure they're not tropical. If they are, you should move them or make sure you're misting them daily so they don't dry out too much. Also watch for pests. During the winter months the increased heat from the heaters, lack of sunlight, and increased humidity because of humidifiers all can lead to pests.
Pruning is really good for plants. It helps promote growth, removes any potential pests, and can help correct any weird, unwanted directional growth. Winter is a great time to prune as your plant is in slow-to-no growth mode, so you can get it ready for when spring arrives.
Take a look at your plants for any signs of pests, or dead leaves and remove them with sharp pruning tools. You want to make sure they're sharp and high quality to avoid any crushed or torn stems which attracts pests and disease.
Not all houseplants need pruning, but most benefit from at least some shaping and removal of dead leaves and damaged or diseased stems. Well-kept plants tend to get less pests and diseases.
Repotting your plant is a great idea during winter if your plant has outgrown it's current home. Repotting doesn't need to be exclusive to growth though, if you've had your plant for a while it might be time to replace your soil with new, nutrient-dense soil. Who wants to eat leftovers for years on end? No one. Not even plants.
So give your plant a new, refreshed diet with some new soil, and maybe a new pot. Make sure when potting you either have a drainage hole with a plate to catch the run-off water, or you place rocks down for a couple inches at the bottom of the pot to catch the run-off water. Either way, if you're bored one Saturday or Sunday afternoon and are tired of watching Netflix, pick up some rocks, soil, and a new pot and give your plant friend a new home. It'll be a nice lil' Christmas present :)