Top tips for thriving house plants this Winter
With the Winter weather well and truly upon us in Perth, we asked our plant expert Claire Greenhill her top five tips for getting your indoor plants happily through the cooler months.
To keep those green friends thriving it's likely you'll need to check things like plant positioning as the angle and intensity of the sun changes, watch out for any leaf burn, switch up your watering routine and move your plants away from heat sources like reverse cycle aircons, pot bellies, and fireplaces.
1. Check your plant positioning
During winter we have shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures meaning less light intensity and less light ‘hours’.
For many indoor plant growers this can mean it is time to move plants into their Winter positions.
If plants are already near bright windows and are still receiving adequate light, they can stay put, but for plants surviving in those unheated, southern-facing rooms with small or few windows, they will fare much better in a better lit spot.
2. Avoid leaf burn
The last tip comes with a small caveat. In Winter the sun is lower and will come through your windows or onto your balconies and porches at a different angle. This means that plants that previously saw no direct sun might risk getting burnt, even if the weather is cooling.
When placing your plants near windows be careful to watch the direct sunlight on your plants' leaves and move spots appropriately.
3. Switch up your watering
Watering needs for plants in Winter will, as always, depend on the microclimate in which the plant is growing. If the plant is to remain in a cool spot with medium - low light keeping the plant drier will help it fare better over the Winter.
Remember plants use water as part of photosynthesis - If there is less light then the plant will use less water and if it’s cool, the moisture in the soil will not evaporate as readily.
For those who have bright, heated homes, you may be watering more than usual. Heating can dry the air in homes and the soil will become dry through both evaporation and via the plant using up moisture.
For mezzanines, attics and ‘upstairs’ these positions can become very warm. So follow the golden rules, watch your plant, feel the soil, lift the pot and then water the soil, not the plant.
4. Wait for the warmth
Winter is a period of mostly dormancy for indoor plants so the cultivation of cuttings for most common varieties is best left until Spring when the air is warm and we are coming out of our own hibernation.
The same goes for fertiliser. If your plant is growing in a cold room, where temperatures hover at 14 degrees celcius or lower, wait until the weather warms up. If your plant is in a warmish spot and is putting on growth and you feel like giving it some love, you can fertilise but do not be tempted to give your plants a more concentrated dose than recommended on the bottle.
Seasol is a great Winter alternative as it is a tonic that can be applied all year round, always follow the manufactures dilution rates or halve them for delicate plants like ferns.
5. Move plants away from heat sources
Plants like to be cosy, but not as much as you.
For those with pot bellies, reverse-cycle air conditioners, or gas heaters, make sure your plants are well away from the blast of warm air. Around 2 meters is a good rule of thumb, but if in doubt, stand near your heater, the point at which you feel comfortable and cannot feel a strong dry warmth is the closest spot to position your plant.