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How to prepare your houseplants for the winter ahead!

How to prepare your houseplants for the winter ahead!

The days are getting shorter and that means less natural light for your plant babes. Your indoor plants will be mostly used to a tropical climate so here's how to prepare your plants for the cooler months.

Pop your plants closer to sunny windows but hey not too close!

To make use of the sunlight that is still hanging around, pop your plants closer to a window that offers natural filtered light. 

Plants tend to lean towards the light source, so gradually swing them around every few days to help them straighten out. If your plants are looking leggy with new growth, move them closer to the light

If your windows freeze over, make sure that your plants have enough distance from the glass, so they don’t freeze too.

Philodendron Pink Princess

Your plants like to breathe just like you, dust the leaves when the dust settles. Aaah that's better!

Not only will they look better, but they’ll be able to absorb light more efficiently, which is particularly important during this time of year and they will love your back for it!

Here’s a little recipe for cleaning the leaves.

1 Pinch of baking soda
1L of water 

Mix a pinch of baking soda in one litre of water. Use this solution to wipe your plants.

Protect me from drafts or heaters. 

Make sure your houseplants aren’t catching a chill by inconsistent or extreme temperatures and if your visitors tend to leave the doors open, make sure they are not letting a cold draught in, this can cause your plants to stress out. Same goes for floors as well – if a pot is sitting directly on cold concrete or tiled floor, raise it off the ground with a book, an unused stool or whatever you can re-use around the home.

It’s important to keep your plants away from any cold drafts or heating vents, especially during the Wintertime. Heaters will only further dry out your soil. Regular misting of plants is a great way to increase the humidity level. The tips of leaves may dry up and go brown, or leaves may shrivel up when plants have little moisture in the air. Grab yourself a little spray bottle and mist away.


Some plants, like ferns, Rex begonias, Prayer plant and Calathea to name a few, prefer high humidity to grow well when placed indoors. Indoor humidity levels are usually lower than those in a greenhouse, in fact during winter when heaters and fires are running, indoor air can be as dry as desert air.

Considering that most houseplants are actually tropical plants adapted to rainforest humidity levels makes it easy to see why growing some plants indoors can be such a pain in the backside.

Plants requiring high humidity are best placed in bathrooms or kitchens; rooms normally more humid than the majority of the house. Some growers use a tall, bell-shaped, glass covering that can be placed over certain plants to maintain a higher level of humidity around the leaves.

Water your plants less.

A common misconception about plants is that more watering can compensate for less sunlight and lower humidity levels. Please don’t make this mistake. While you should still be diligent about other aspects of plant life, you can rest easy knowing that they’ll be fine if you skip a watering here or there.

Pop your finger an inch into the soil (closer to the edge of the pot), and if it's dry, it's time to water. After doing this a few times, you'll get to know your plant and have a better idea of what kind of watering schedule it should be on. Otherwise, I’d recommend using our Sustee watering device to tell you when to water and when not to!

Sustee the best houseplant watering device of 2019

Make sure your plants are not sitting in the water - you may end up with a dying plant, as the roots are unable to dry out and may cause root rot.

If you have a pot with no hole in it I'd recommend repotting into a nursery grow pot that you can take in and out to water, or drill a hole into the bottom.

make sure your pot has a hole in it

Fertiliser; to do or not to do?

In Winter, when many plants are sleeping, it's important to use less fertiliser, because in winter many plants grow more slowly - as a result, they need fewer nutrients to keep them fed. This applies to both indoor and outdoor plants, so as a rule of thumb we recommend heavily reducing the frequency of feeding during winter because it's very hard to see the benefit until the temperatures warm up.

Otherwise, back to fertilising when outdoor plants wake up in the Spring. 

Losing a leaf or two?

Plants tend to lose leaves in the Winter to compensate for the lack of light. If you notice your plant is not looking her best in the cooler months and you know you are doing everything right water, light, soil, drainage, dusting, don't worry. It's adjusting to the change in the season. Trim off a few of her sad leaves here and there, this also helps with prevention of disease.

If your plant's not looking so great it might be dormant!

Purple oxalis, Alocasias and Caladiums are a few examples of families of plants that go dormant over winter. If you notice any of these plants drop their leaves or at least lose a large portion don't worry! Just let them drop their leaves and then store the bulb in the pot in a warm place over winter. 

The best recipe for plants during Wintertime doesn't really take much and the best bit is that they actually make you feel happier. Research is showing indoor plants lessen the effects of SAD (Seasonal-Affective Disorder). If you feel a touch of seasonal depression, shop a plant. Plants are proven to help reduce these symptoms, along with going outside more often. So Winter doesn't have to be so DRAB after all.

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