Houseplants make a home more welcoming, especially during our long, cold New England winters. Living plants that are kept inside year-round are not only aesthetically pleasing, air-purifying houseplants actually improve the indoor air quality during the season that we need it most — those dark months when we are cooped up and can’t get out in the fresh air as much as we might like.
Keeping houseplants healthy throughout the winter will not only improve the atmosphere of your home by providing color and beauty, but will also neutralize airborne toxins and impurities while releasing oxygen-rich clean air. To keep your plants at their peak of health, here are the 10 best winter tips for houseplants that are free, easy and will only take a few minutes out of your day.
The 10 Best Winter Tips for Houseplants
Place plants in a south-facing window or under a light source for at least one full hour a day. Sun-loving houseplants can stay for even longer!
Make sure plants have adequate drainage. Never use plant pots without proper drainage or drain holes, as trapped water will lead to root rot
Rotate the sides of plant pots every week or so to ensure plants get equal lighting on all sides.
Don’t over water. In most cases, using enough water to moisten the soil is adequate. Plants such as succulents do not require regular watering. Winter succulent care largely consists of just one thorough misting each week!
Don’t let plants dry out completely between watering. Soil that is too dry can cause stress on plants and may even kill some.
Trim and deadhead houseplants to avoid the “leggy” look and to remove past-peak foliage.
Repot root-bound plants. If roots are growing out from the bottom of your plant pot’s drainage holes or on top of the soil, this is a good indication that your plant is outgrowing the pot. To repot houseplants, gently remove the plant and loosen the root ball. Find a container that has suitable drainage and allows for at least 1/3 of the entire space to be free of roots. Fill partially with clean potting soil and gently place the plant in. Cover the roots with more clean potting soil. Water lightly.
Add a few tablespoons of compost once a month to potted plants to boost the soil’s nutrient content.
Consider moving some plants into the bathroom. Bathrooms are ideal environments for plants because of the high humidity from the shower.
Use the correct size pot. A plant should have enough room to completely cover the roots with soil and allow for additional root growth. A pot that is too small will become root bound and require frequent watering. A pot that is too large requires additional watering to just reach the roots and actually slows the growth process of the plant because most of the plant’s energy is focused on establishing roots rather than nurturing the plant.
Following these winter tips for houseplants will keep them healthy and thriving throughout the year.
This post was first published in 2013 and has been updated.