Despite forecasters predicting the Des Moines area to reach 50 degrees this weekend, our recent temperatures have been nothing short of unbearable. And it seems that the cold winter season has only just begun! With dry air, significantly less daylight, and frigid temperatures, the growing conditions for outdoor plants are less than ideal. That’s why houseplants are a great solution, especially this time of year. They’ll add color and life to your home while keeping the gardener in you happy until the first rush of spring arrives. Here are five tips to keep your houseplants happy, healthy and thriving this winter!
- Watering. Houseplants grow slower in the winter but often dry out faster with the heat blasting and lack of humidity indoors. Keep your plants’ soil moist so it doesn’t dry out. A good guide to determine when you should water a plant is to check whether the top one inch of soil is dry, or if the plant is starting to wilt. It can be useful to place a humidifier near these plants, or place them in rooms where humidity is higher, like bathrooms.
- Fertilizing (Or lack thereof!) Since plants grow slowly under low light conditions, they don’t need fertilizer. Avoid re-potting or adding soil until new growth appears in the spring for that same reason.
- Transporting. Transporting your plants carefully is a must. When transporting your plants, make sure to warm up your car beforehand. Wrapping them is a good idea because it prevents cold air from getting to them when they are outside. However, even when wrapped, plants can sustain frost damage if they spend more than a couple of seconds in below freezing temperatures. Having a warm car lowers this risk.
- Cleaning. Winter is a great time to clean your plants. Removing dirt and debris that may have accumulated will help the plant breathe and look better.
- Disposing. Houseplants add aesthetic value to a home, and this is especially important in winter. If you have a houseplant that does not seem to be flourishing no matter how hard you try, it may be time to dispose of it and buy something more beautiful! And a great way to get a second life out of a plant that isn’t thriving is by composting it.