The fall and winter months mean chilly weather, cozy blankets, mugs of hot cocoa, and warm fires. While people may enjoy the crisp, cold air, the lower temperatures and shorter days make it difficult for plants to thrive. So how do you help your indoor plants stay alive this fall and winter? Follow these tips!

1. Keep your plants warm–but not too warm

Many plant are extremely sensitive to cold air. The #1 step to helping your indoor plants survive the cool months is to make sure they are protected from the cold air. You can partly solve this by sealing up your windows and insulating your doors of your home. Also, if you keep plants next to outside doors or leaky windowsills during the warmer months, make sure you move them to other rooms where they won’t get shocked by the cold air.

You also want to make sure you keep plants away from sources of heat, like fireplaces, radiators, and even heating vents. Blasts of hot air can be just as bad for your plant as blasts of cold air. Keep your plants at a steady temperature between 65-75 degrees F during the day, and above 50 degrees F at night for the best plant living conditions.

2. Reduce your watering

Even though they are inside, the majority of houseplants go dormant in the fall and winter months. When they are dormant, they don’t need as much water (or fertilizer). Follow standard watering advice, and only water if the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface. You want to make sure your plants don’t stay sitting in water because that can lead to root rot, fungus, mold, and a host of other issues. If you see yellow leaves or moldy soil, then you’ll know you need to reduce your watering frequency.

3. Increase your home’s humidity

Low humidity in the cold months isn’t just a problem for people–it’s a problem for plants, too. Plants enjoy humidity levels around 50%, so keep your humidifier running if you have one. If you don’t, try clustering your plants together in the most humid rooms of your home (typically the bathrooms or kitchen), or placing them on top of a large tray or baking sheet filled with water. (You just have to make sure the pots don’t touch the water, so place some stones in the water and put the plants on top.)

4. Clean your plants

Sun is in short supply in the winter. To make sure they can take full advantage of the little light they have, make sure your indoor plants’ leaves stay clean and dust-free. Every couple weeks, put your plants in the bathtub and use a handheld sprayer to give the leaves a gentle shower, or use a damp towel to wipe dust and grime off the leaves. Keeping the leaves clean mean they can be more efficient at photosynthesis.

5. Give them plenty of light

Plants need light more than anything else in the fall and winter. You will need to be extra careful to rotate your pots to make sure each plant is getting the sunlight they need. If the available natural sunlight isn’t enough, use a full-spectrum lightbulb in a standard desk lamp and shine it on your plants for at least 12-14 hours a day. Learn more about setting up a grow lamp, or purchase an LED grow light in our store.

Have Any Gardening Questions?

Have any questions? Want to learn more about indoor urban gardening through the fall and winter months? Head over to our YouTube Channel and drop a comment on our latest video! We will answer your question in one of our upcoming episodes.