With the wet, miserable weather outside this month, it’s the perfect opportunity to head inside, check in on your houseplants and give them a plant MOT to see them through the winter months.
The shorter days means that light levels are less intense and temperatures indoors can fluctuate, so it’s important to give your indoor plants a helping hand through the winter until the days start to get longer and warmer again come spring.
In a recent video, our friend Martin of Pots & Trowels is sheltering from the cold as he gives his indoor plant collection some TLC. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the top tips you need to care for your houseplants this winter.
How to care for houseplants during winter
Prune away old, dead, or damaged leaves
Lift your foliage plants, such as monstera, ctenanthe and aspidistra, out of any decorative pots so that you can pick them up and easily check the leaves on each of your plants.
If you’ve only got a couple of yellowing or dead leaves here and there then you can remove them by hand by simply twisting them and pulling them off. However, if you’ve got a plant that’s looking a little more worse for wear, then it’ll be easier to grab a pair of pruners or garden snips and remove any dead foliage that way. Work your way round and cut the stems of each leaf back down to where it grew from and your plant will look tidier and healthier in no time.
Remove any dust from the leaves
No matter how clean your house is, the foliage on your indoor plants can – and will – gather dust and dirt over time. It’s important to remove it, especially if you’ve got a thick layer of dust, as not only does it make your houseplants look better, but it also means that that they can photosynthesise more efficiently – which is particularly important during the winter months when they’ll be getting less sunlight.
To remove dust from larger leaves, grab a damp cloth or bit of kitchen roll and simply wipe them down. For plants with lots of smaller leaves, take your plants out outside on a fine, milder day, water them over the foliage and let them dry to wash most of the dust away.
Use leaf shine
If you want to, you can give your plants a misting over with a natural, plant-based leaf shine spray that will not only help clean it and add a nice sheen to your leaves, but can also help to prevent pests such as aphids or mites establishing on your plants.
Watering houseplants during winter
When it comes to watering houseplants in winter, your plants aren’t actually actively growing during these months, so you don’t have to give them as much water as you would during the summer to keep them happy and healthy.
Test your plants by taking the pot out and feeling the compost, rather than simply assuming that they need watering every week or two. If the compost feels moist, or the plant’s not too light and generally looks healthy, then you don’t need to water it further. If the compost feels dry or the leaves are looking like they’re starting to wilt a bit (if it’s a soft leaf plant), then it’s time to give your plant a little drink over the sink and let it drain. Once it’s drained, you can place it back in its pot. Never leave your plants sat standing in water over the winter, as that’ll kill them off faster than anything else.
Feeding houseplants during winter
You don’t tend to need to feed your houseplants much in the winter, but if you’ve got good light in the house and you’ve got some warmth your plants will still grow, albeit much slower than in the summer, so you can still give them a bit of a tomato feed – rather than regular houseplant feed – to help them through to the spring.
Tomato fertiliser usually has a lower nitrogen content and a higher potash content, which will help to toughen up the plants, induce a little bit of winter hardiness, and keep them healthy and ticking over until spring, when you can change back to a normal houseplant feed.
How to care for Christmas poinsettia
Poinsettia originates from South America, so they like it hot! These plants like to be warm, and they loathe fluctuating temperatures. If you’re buying yours from a shop or garden centre, ask them if they can wrap it up to help keep it happy and warm while you get it home, and don’t leave it sat in a chilly car for hours before you do.
Once you get it home, take off the wrapper and stand it in a light position in a warm room with a fairly consistent temperature of around 15°C. Keep it just moist, and let the soil dry out a bit before you water it again. If your poinsettia does start to get a chill then it will let you know, as it will likely start dropping some of the bracts fairly quickly.
How to care for indoor cyclamen during winter
If you want an indoor plant for a cooler room, cyclamen makes a great indoor flowering plant all through the winter – not just at Christmas.
Cyclamen prefers opposite growing conditions to poinsettia. It still wants to be somewhere light of course, but in terms of temperature – the cooler, the better. As long as it won’t freeze, then somewhere like a porch or conservatory is ideal. Again, let it almost dry out before watering it again, and it will just flower and flower right through the winter.
When the flowers start to fade, don’t deadhead them like you would most other flowering plants, but instead take the whole stalk out. To remove the stalk, slide your fingers down the stalk of the fading flower to the bottom and you should be able to simply pull it out right at the base. This way, you don’t leave any little stalks that will die back and cause rot.
So there you have it! Follow these top tips and keep your both your foliage houseplants and your flowering Christmas plants happy and healthy for the foreseeable future.
Where to buy Darlac tools
Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tools for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre, or you can buy selected products direct online from our website. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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