The summer fling is over. Time to play it cool and give your plants some space.
Winding down for winter essentially means we need to tone it down on fertilising, repotting, pruning and watering our plants. We need to let our plants rest in the cooler months and give them some time to have a little R&R (we all need it). So don't be sad the honeymoon phase is over, we need to back off a little and not kill the relationship with too much kindness. As the amount of daylight diminishes, the air gets drier and temperatures start to drop, our plants are doing everything at a slower rate. So this means we need to adjust our care to keep them happy and thriving.
Watering - less is best!
Neglect and respect when it comes to watering in winter. We need to modify our watering routine in winter and cut back on the frequency of watering and the amount. In the colder periods your plants will take a longer time for the soil to dry out. The top inch might dry out quickly due to heat sources but be sure to do the good old finger test and check it is dry before watering again. Your cacti and succulents might not need watering at all.
Tip: Use room temperature water to prevent shocking the plant as they are resting and do not like extreme changes.
Follow the sun
Fewer hours of sunlight means you will have to move your plants or supply artificial lighting to ensure they are getting enough light. Also if you notice your plants are leaning towards the light (the window) then rotate your plants every week to help straighten them out and even out their growth. I know we said the summer fling was over but occasionally we need to show them some love and affection or they will lose interest.
Tip: Clean those leaves so they can absorb as much of that available sunlight as possible.
Forget about fertilising
Back off on fertilising your plants in the colder months as most plants are resting and go dormant or semi-dormant, so fertilising is unnecessary. Give your plants a much needed break to wind down and prepare for the growing season. When the weather warms up again and the days get longer and you see some signs of growth, then continue with your original fertilising routine.
Tip: If you still want to show your plant some affection, then be sure to half the amount of fertiliser used.
Watch that temperature
Rule of thumb: if you are comfortable then your plants are comfortable. Most plants prefer temperatures between 18 and 24 degrees celsius and can handle a little colder at night. Be mindful and avoid placing your plants near open windows and doors, as well as heat sources like ovens, fire places, radiators and electrical devices. Cluster plants in groups to increase humidity and/or move them into the kitchen or bathroom where they can acquire the most moisture from showers and boiling water.
Tip: Get yourself a humidifier and/or use pebble trays with water to combat dry air caused from using fireplaces and heaters.
With these simple tips you are sure to keep your plants happy and thriving all year round! Just keep an eye on your plant babies and move them if they need more sunlight. Remember you can pamper them in spring, summer and early fall but leave them be in winter. Plants bring so much joy and add so much life and beauty to the home and with adjusting their care in winter they can continue to do this.