Plants have needs, just like we all do. You probably know that plant’s needs change as the season change and houseplants are very much affected by all the outdoor changes.
And here’s the thing… a few years back we both have killed a few plants just because we didn’t think (and know) they need a special care during autumn and winter and the sad thing is we probably could have saved them if we kept them till summer.
Now we are older and smarter and know a bit more about plant care. We also have great friends that know everything there is to know about plants – our friends from Botanike.
Their studio combines architecture, horticulture and design with the goal of comprehensive space design in which nature is an inevitable part.
So we asked them about a plant care during these gloomy seasons to help you keep all those plants alive and ready for spring and summer.
When it comes to autumn you know all about those warm days and chilly nights situations. Those temperature changes can be a bit dramatic from night to day. The air gets dryer and plants need an extra care just like our skin does. We have to do all we can to make this transition from summer to winter as smooth as possible for our plants – this means to bring them indoors, choose the best spot for them inside and be careful with watering and misting.
Bring Plants Indoors
If you’re like us you probably moved some of your plants outside for the summer – you know, to make that super cosy outdoor terrace. Well, it’s time to bring them back indoors!
We do that before it gets under 15°C at night.
When you bring the plants into the house, be sure to remove all the withered leaves and stems and check your plants for pests they might have picked up outside. During the warmer weather first mist the plants with mild soap then shower them several times. After you’re finished, check top and bottom of each leaf to further remove the potential pests.
Keep in mind when you bring your plants indoor they might drop some leaves. This is perfectly normal because they’re adjusting to the lower light levels of even being indoors.
Also, water them well the first time to make them adapt to the new environment.
Choose a perfect spot inside
Be sure plants aren’t near any heat source or close to windows and doors you’re opening frequently. Plants don’t like extreme changes of temperature. Move delicate plants away from the windows because leaves that are touching the window can freeze when temperatures fall below zero.
In autumn and winter, the days are shorter and the angle of the sun is also changing. You should probably choose a new spot for every plant. Make sure they get about the same amount of sunlight they did in spring and summer. It’s the best if you place all the plants near the source of light because the sun is weaker during this seasons.
We have this trick we use to make sure they’re getting enough light. Put your hand 20-30 cm from your plant in front of the light source – if there is no shadow on your plant that spot is too dark for it!
Also, rotate your plants once a week to make sure all sides are getting enough light through a period of time.
If you want, you can also consider artificial lighting during darker days –just use the full spectrum lighting.
Dust your plants
Closed windows increase dust and indoor pollution. Dust on leaves reduces the amount of light that’s getting to your plant and, since the days are short, it’s important they get as much light as possible! Gently dust off leaves at least twice a week.
When wiping the leaves from the dust, always do it on the top and also at the bottom side of the leaf, because the pests are gathering there more often. We do not recommend any agents for shiny leaves ‘cause most of these products can clog the leaf pores and that is not healthy for the plant. By wiping the leaves with a damp cloth you can also increase moisture. For plants whose leaves you cannot wipe with a damp cloth, it is best to use a soft brush to remove the dust.
Don’t water as often
Since plants are getting less light and they’re growing slower during these seasons they shouldn’t be watered as often as in warmer seasons. For most plants it is usually the best to water once a week unless the air in your apartment is too dry – then your plants may need a bit more water.
You can also check the soil with your fingers – if you don’t feel moist and the surface is dry water it.
Humidity is important
The air indoors during these seasons is much drier, especially during winter when the heating is on. Many houseplants prefer a humid environment. Oftentimes just misting wouldn’t do much difference during winter since the moisture dries out quickly.
During autumn and winter plants will need more moisture. The moisture can be insured by wiping the leaves with a wet cloth, grouping the plants – this acts like changing their microclimate or by placing the plants on a plate with a gravel filled with water – but ensure that there is always water between the gravel. This water evaporates and raises a humidity of the air a bit. Also, humidifiers are a good choice to increase the humidity levels, so if you don’t have it consider buying one.
Aerate a soil
Don’t forget to aerate a soil around the roots by gently pushing a stick or something similar to loosen the soil. This will allow oxygen to more easily flow through the entire root ball and allow water to more evenly moisten the soil.
It’s best to do it once or twice a month.
During autumn and winter, the light and water are what is enough to keep your plants alive. Don’t overdo! You can stop using any fertilizer until next spring.
Keep in mind there are also some plants that rest during the winter, such as cacti or plumeria, which are placed in the coolest room of the apartment (such as hallway or staircase) and which are usually not watered at all or only a few times during winter.
Hope your plants will love the treatments they’re getting during this gloomy seasons!