As the cold months continue, a lot of plant parents begin to worry about maintaining their indoor jungles and stress about how their precious plants will do. Colder weather, lower ambient humidity, less daylight and an increased risk of plant pests are all factors that can cause anybody stress.
One of the first things you can do as the season changes is to assess your environment. Plants love a lot of light, so it’s important to observe and monitor how the lighting (intensity, time of day, duration) changes as we enter winter.
For example, my apartment has south facing windows and I have noticed a more intense sunlight starting earlier in the morning and less sunlight in the afternoon. If you are noticing that some of your plants aren’t getting enough light or there isn’t sunlight for as many hours as during the spring and summer, a grow light may be an easy fix. Grow lights come in all types, intensities, and prices so there’s something out there for every person’s indoor jungle.
Another thing to observe is humidity. Do you have humidity loving plants? Do you live in an area that usually has higher humidity in the spring and summer and less in the fall and winter? A lot of plants do okay in low humidity but because they come from tropical environments originally, a humidity boost is always appreciated. Fall and winter can be drier which can lead to plant leaves getting a little more crispy than usual. During the winter months, it may be helpful to use a humidifier to slightly boost the humidity levels in your indoor jungle. Your plants will love the extra moisture!
Also, try not to open any windows near your plants during the winter as the foliage will quickly begin to show signs of cold damage. A slight draft from your window is fine but if it is very cold by the glass, pull your plants away about 6 inches to 1 foot to ensure they don’t suffer.
Finally, as we enter the cold months, set aside some time to thoroughly examine all of your plants to make sure they have no pests. Plant pests can increase in the winter so it’s important to make sure you’re entering the season with clean, happy and healthy plants to ensure that they continue to thrive. The easiest way to do this is during each plant’s watering day. Examine the plant to make sure there are no pests, and if there are any, be sure to treat it and quarantine it until the pests go away.
Even if you don’t find any pests, it may be a good idea to wash off the foliage by putting the plant in the shower or spraying it down in the sink... this cleans off the leaves of any dust or debris which may be hindering the plant from photosynthesizing optimally. A homemade neem oil spray is also a good way to clean the plant leaves!
Overall, monitoring how conditions such as lighting, temperature, and humidity change throughout the seasons is the best way to assess what changes you may need to make during the colder months. Keeping these things in mind will help reduce stress when it comes to plant care and maintenance!
Reena, known as @reenasplants on Instagram and Tiktok has been a plant enthusiast for over 5 years. However, like most people, the start of the pandemic is really when her plant collection grew and her Instagram was started. She has over 50 plants in her collection, the most notable being her wall of climbing pothos vines, which is featured on her page. In addition to plants, her hobbies include making macrame home decor items such as plant hangers, coasters, ornaments and more, and it’s the perfect way to combine plants and handmade crafts.