Winter Care for Houseplants

Your houseplants are safely away from the cold and foul winter weather. However, inside conditions and decreased daylight can still negatively effect your inside beauties. This is a guide about winter care for houseplants.
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December 17, 2010 Flag

The onset of winter weather outside can take a surprising toll on indoor plants. Dry air, dust accumulations, and dwindling daylight, can quickly add up to less than ideal conditions for your plants. Here are some easy tips for keeping your houseplants healthy throughout the winter season.

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Dust Their Leaves

Once your home's windows are shut for the season, it's easy to put off dusting. Plants are equipped with tiny pores or openings (stomata) on the surface of their leaves. This is how they breathe (exchange gases). If these pores become clogged with dust, the plant quickly becomes dull and unattractive in appearance, growth becomes restricted (dust blocks out already limited seasonal light), and the plant starts to deteriorate. Regular dusting will also help prevent insect infestations.

Monitor Humidity

Central heating during the winter can produce very dry air that contains as little as 10 to 20 percent humidity. Because houseplants prefer a humidity level of around 40 to 50 percent, intervening to increase the humidity around them is usually necessary. As a general rule, plants with thin, papery leaves require a higher level of humidity than plants with thick, leathery leaves.

Let Them Rest

Nearly all indoor plants need some type of resting (dormant) period during the year in order to put out healthy new growth in the spring. For example, flowering plants like orchids and cacti will flower poorly (or not at all) if they are not given a winter rest. Because of its cooler temperatures and shorter days, this dormant period usually takes place during winter. When your plants are at rest, growth either slows significantly or stops altogether. As a result, their feeding and watering schedule needs to be adjusted accordingly.

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