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How to Take Care of Plants in Winter
6 Tips How to Take Care of Plants in Winter
1. Watering and Spraying in Winter
Plants should be placed in the back of a room or are exposed to hot air, the soil in their pots dries quickly, and they require watering more often. If they spend winter in a cooler place, such as a windowsill, the soil remains moist for a long time allowing those plants to be watered less frequently (use self-watering pots).
In order to avoid elongation and yellowing of leaves, plants should be left to rest in winter, halting their growth. They need to be watered less often, generally, only after the soil begins to dry out. However, it is necessary to do more spraying during this time, otherwise the tips of the leaves will begin to wither, which may eventually lead to the plant’s death. Also, the surface soil should be loosened more often so the air can penetrate to the roots. It’s no wonder that such a method is called "dry watering."
It is not recommended to spray some plant species, such as violets, because their leaves will begin to rot. They should be placed on a pallet with constantly wet pebbles or expanded clay.
Cacti and other succulents require almost no water in the winter. Decorative foliage plants still require moderate watering in winter as the top layer of soil will dry. In flowering plants, the sol should be kept slightly moist even in winter. Only very moisture-loving plants (azaleas, sweet flag, cyperus) require abundant watering all the year round.
2. Rest Period
Certain types of house plants require a rest period in the winter. For example, watering of cacti should be reduced gradually, and their fertilizing excluded.
3. Plants Fertilizing and Lighting
In the winter it is advisable not to fertilize any plants that do not show signs of active growth: minerals are not absorbed, and the saline in the soil can even kill the roots. Those plants that actively grow all year round (particularly large-sized plants such as monstera, rubber plants, palms, hibiscus, etc.) can be fertilized, yet less often than in the spring and summer. About once a month is sufficient.
In winter plants do not get enough natural light. Therefore, during this season it is better to place them closer to a window pane. It is also possible to provide additional lighting using fluorescent lamps. In the period from November to February plants should be fertilized approximately once a month. The dose indicated on the package should be halved in winter.
Plants that bloom in autumn or winter should be fertilized regularly. These plants include Eucharis, calla lilies and cyclamen. Preference should be given to granular fertilizing. Be sure to provide adequate lighting, as flowering plants need an abundance of light so that they can bloom.
4. Pest Сontrol
Do not forget about pests, as even in the winter months they can multiply actively due to excessively dry indoor air. It is desirable to regularly inspect all plants and remove wilted flowers and leaves.
The first pest to be on guard for are fungal and bacterial rots. Low temperatures are favorable for the development of fungi. If the window is cold, it takes a long time for the soil in the pots to dry which creates conditions for fungal microflora and increases the risk of root damage. This is especially true for succulents and Euphorbiaceae (spurge family). Control measures include:
- do not water the plants if the soil in their pot is wet;
- water succulents only when stems or leaves begin to wilt - once every 2-3 weeks or less;
- Cacti and Lithops should not be watered at all.
5. Comfort and Hygiene
Regularly wipe the leaves if they accumulate dust and the size of the leaves allows it. It is recommended that small indoor plants be washed in the shower, after having their soil covered with a film. Remember, all house plants are afraid of drafts and temperature drops.
Pruning and pinching should be postponed until March or April. Propagation also should wait until the spring, unless you really want to share a cutting with someone.