The gray, cloudy, rainy weather and much lower temperatures of fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest can have an impact on your indoor plants. You may have noticed that your plants that have put out new leaves and were bursting out of their pots this summer are not on the same trajectory. This is because plants have growing seasons, typically March through September, with a tendency to slow growth in the fall and winter months of October to February. Of course, even while typing this, I know that some plants don’t slow down at all. Personally, I have an arrowhead that spits out new leaves year round. No new growth, where?
But, as we transition to the colder months, here are some ways to adjust our care routines to ensure all those plants we bought in spring and summer continue to thrive throughout the fall and winter seasons. As with any plant advice, apply what will work best for your collection!
- Give them a little less water.
Plant growth slowing means that they need less water and fertilizer. Keep up the consistency of your watering schedule, but you can reduce the amount of water given to each plant. Also, I stop using fertilizer during fall and winter, as I don’t want to overload my plants with too many nutrients that aren’t necessary.
- Consider adding a light source.
I have found that I have more success with plants being placed in window sills. When those areas are full, I add grow lights to my shelves to help keep them happy. There are so many varieties to choose from, whole floor lamps, light bulbs, and even lamps that clip to shelves.
- Move away from drafty areas.
I know I just said move them into window sills, but if you are the type to keep windows open in the winter time, this would not be good for your plants. Drafts, both cold and too warm, can shock your plants and likely make them lose leaves. Keep them away from open windows, where doors to outside are constantly opening and closing, and away from heat vents, fireplaces and space heaters.
- Only repot if necessary.
Remember, repotting plants is to make room for root growth. If your plant’s growth has not slowed down or is showing signs of being rootbound, then repotting would likely be beneficial. If you just want to upgrade or change out a style of a particular planter, try to wait until spring when your plant will grow and adjust into the new pot with ease.
- Clean them up.
Prune crispy ends and/or yellowing leaves with sharp, clean plant shears. Wipe away dust with a damp cloth or rinse the leaves by giving your plant a shower so that they have a clean surface to take in more light.
- Increase humidity in your home.
Plants like humidity levels around 50-60%, so run a humidifier if you have one. I bought a couple cool-mist humidifiers off Amazon for relatively cheap. You can also keep plants in the bathrooms or kitchen, where humidity is generally higher or make a pebble tray to add more moisture to the air.
Overall, making changes to your plant care routine requires a little bit of patience and some trial and error. Some of these tips may require you to move your plants around your home. Check on them daily to make sure they are adjusting well. You can always reverse a change if it’s not working for your plants!