Indoor plants do not need the same care in summer as in winter. In this article, we will go through how to take care of plants in winter.

We must bear in mind that with the arrival of winter temperatures drops, the daylight hours decrease and come into play an element that complicates everything a little and is called heating. During winter indoor plants need less water, increase in humidity and light.

What happens to plants in the winter season?

How To Take Care Of Plants In Winter

Before explaining in more detail the care of indoor plants in winter, I think it is important to also tell what happens to the plants with the arrival of the cold.

A plant uses light and water to grow through photosynthesis and use all the energy provided by the sun to flourish, put new leaves and continue to develop. We must not forget another fundamental factor in the development of a plant: temperature. Each one has its needs but it is essential for them to have warm temperatures that allow them to continue their growth.

With the arrival of winter and due to the drop in temperatures, the plants enter a period of rest or plant dormancy.

If this is so, why are there plants that bloom in the fall? It is true that there are plants like the Azaleas or the God Cactus that bloom in autumn. This occurs because these particular plants tolerate lower temperatures for their growth and development.

However, when the temperatures are lower than those that this type of plant needs to develop, they will also enter a state of rest.

Do all indoor plants go dormant in winter?

It depends on the climate in which they are found but whenever there are frosts or the temperatures are really cold, yes, the plants will enter a period of rest.

In addition, this vegetative rest is fundamental for them because during those months they accumulate energy and are “trained” to grow with greater vitality and strength with the arrival of spring. It is advisable that the plants enjoy at least two months of vegetative rest.

In cities with constant warm temperatures, plants do not have this rest and although they survive without it, they become weaker and prone to attack by pests and fungi.

Indoor Plants care in Winter

The biggest difference in winter is that there is much less daylight. The days are shorter and the light is less bright. Your plants, which live on the light, therefore receive much less energy. Many plants go into hibernation; they grow less quickly or not at all. So if you suddenly no longer see new leaves appearing on your beloved plants, there is no reason to panic. 

Here are some tips for caring for your indoor plants during winter:

Watering plants in winter: less water

how to water indoor plants

Three aspects must be taken into account when it comes to watering our plants in winter:

Watering frequency: now that the temperatures are lower, the humidity in the soil lasts longer so it is important to space the waterings. If in summer we watered twice a week, now watering once will be enough.

How to know if we are watering more or less: Always pay close attention to the soil. When you have to water your plant, first look at the soil and check if it is wet or not. Dip your finger into the soil and feel how wet it is. If it’s still wet, don’t water and wait a few days.

This is important because overwatering could cause fungal problems!

Amount of water in irrigation: As in the winter the plants enter a dormant period and their aerial activity (leaves and stems) is paralyzed, they need less water to survive.

For this reason, we will also have to adjust the amount of water that we provide them and gradually decrease it.

Time of day to water: In summer you water your plants in the morning, evening or even at night because as it is so hot, the plants appreciate being fresh and hydrated. However, this rule does not apply to winter.

Why? Well, because during the night the temperatures drop, the heaters turn off and having the plant freshly watered at the coldest time of the day is not the right thing for it.

In winter it is better to water during the day, for example at noon: there is light, there is sun and the excessive humidity that we can cause by watering will go away before.

Increase humidity

How To Increase Humidity For Indoor Plants

Forgetting about humidity during winter is a very common mistake. We think that since it is cold the plants are well hydrated and do not need environmental humidity.

How can you tell if your plants need moisture? Look at the tips of the leaves, are they dry or brown? If your answer is yes, it means that your plants need humidity.

But this is not so. Rather it is the other way around. In winter we have the heaters or radiators on and these cause an environmental dryness that our plants will notice and suffer.

Fortunately, you can also do something about it! One of the oldest ways to increase the humidity is probably the bowls of water on the heating. It also helps to keep plants that like high humidity together. The moisture that evaporates from the leaf then remains between the leaves and thus ensures a pleasant climate for your plants.

If you have a lot of tropical plants in your house, you can also use a humidifier to increase the humidity. If you’ve never tried a humidifier, I recommend that you do your research. In my case, I always resort to humidifiers because apart from providing humidity, they purify the environment.

Make sure your plants get the light they need

Peace lily

At this time of year, there are fewer hours of light during the day, so we recommend you check the place where your plants are and change their location to a place where they receive the most hours of indirect but bright sunlight.

Take a look at the light needs of your plant. If it is a ZZ plant, Fern, or Peace Lily, you should not worry as they are plants that can survive in the shadows.

But other plants that enjoy direct or abundant light such as Bonsai, Olive Tree or Violin Leaf Fig will appreciate being in a place with a lot of light.

Stop fertilizing plants in winter

Fertilizing Indoor Plants

You ask me a lot how to fertilize plants in winter and the truth is that in my case I never fertilize them in winter, only in spring and summer.

And the reason why I do not fertilize them is because as they go into vegetative rest, the contribution of nutrients is not necessary because they will not grow. They are simply in the “power reserve” phase, not the “development” phase.

If you fertilize your plant in winter, it may be that too many minerals get into the soil and that the roots are damaged as a result. You do not need to feed your plants in autumn and winter. You start this again when you see new growth appearing on your plants in the spring.

Avoid changing them pot

Winter is not a good time to replant or change your pot plants, as these changes require an extra effort of adaptation on the part of your plant.

We do recommend changing the soil of your plant at least once every two years, but the best time to do it is during spring or summer. During these months it is also a good idea to trim the oldest branches or roots so that your plant brings energy to the younger and stronger shoots.

Keep your plants away from the cold and heating systems

How nice it is to turn on the heating in the winter and stay indoors. Your plants sometimes don’t like this a bit. All-day long, warm air flows past the leaves of the plants above the heater. That can cause these leaves to dry out very much. That is why it is better not to place plants with large, thin leaves above or next to a heater.

Plants such as cacti, succulents and Yuccas, among others, can handle this extra heat, but make sure that they are not directly on the heater, or that the leaves are touching the heater.

Also, don’t leave your indoor plants outside, they could freeze to death! There are plants that are more sensitive than others, but in general, they all like to be at an average temperature of 12 to 28 degrees.

Pruning dry or yellow leaves

That is, take advantage of the arrival of winter to cut those dry or yellow leaves that you think are going to dry out soon. I always recommend doing this so that the plant does not “waste” energy on leaves that will inevitably be lost and have no continuity.

Clean your plant leaves

During autumn and winter, there are fewer hours of light and therefore less energy or food receives the plant. Our job here to help them is to make it as easy as possible for them to take in light or energy.

We have already mentioned that in winter you have to place the plants in a place where they receive more light. But as you well know, plants capture light through the leaves and therefore it is essential to keep them clean so that they feed properly.

Did you know that the dust or dirt accumulated on the leaves can complicate photosynthesis? The truth is that the leaves would have to be so dirty so that they could not absorb the sun’s energy but to avoid unnecessary risks, it is advisable that during the winter we keep the leaves clean.

You can clean them with a cloth soaked in water and pass it over to each one of them. Thus, they will be in perfect condition to make the most of the hours of light available during winter.

FAQ’s on plants care in winter

Which plants do not need high humidity?

Plants that can thrive in low humidity environments are succulents, cacti, Snake plants, Heartleaf philodendron, peperomia obtusifolia (Baby rubber plant) etc.

What houseplant needs the least amount of light?

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum), Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), Philodendron (Philodendron spp.), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum), Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) are popular on low light indoor plants.

Which houseplants go dormant in winter?

Almost all plants go dormant in winter, whether they’re growing indoors or out in the garden. This period of rest is important to their survival in order to regrow each year. While plant dormancy during cold conditions is crucial, it may be equally important during times of stress.

This is all about how to take care of plants in winter. hope you like it. Feel free to ask any questions, in the comment section below.

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