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When the suns shines less intensely and temperatures drop, the natural world slows down. Winter has set in. This is our quiet cue to slow down and rest more during these shorter days and longer nights. The same is true for your houseplants. Offering your plants proper care during the winter season isn’t a huge amount of work, but it can make all the difference for growing a thriving houseplant collection come springtime!
Here are five tips for winterizing your indoor plants:
1. COLLECT RAIN WATER
Recreating the natural environment for your houseplants is something we encourage here at Sacred Elements, and watering with rainwater is a beautiful way to do just that! Rainwater contains a beneficial element plants love—Nitrates! Nitrogen and oxygen together form this powerhouse nutrient your plants crave, and it’s another way to help your houseplants feel right at home. Think of how lovely the garden grows during the springtime, leaves are lush and stems are strong thanks in part to the abundant rain showers! Rainwater is soft water, which means it is free of harsh salts and chemicals found in treated tap water. It’s also slightly acidic, which helps unlock micronutrients once it reaches your soil. Copper, iron and potassium are like electrolytes for the roots, hydrating them with naturally occurring goodness and enriching your soil naturally!
Here are a few tips for easy collection and application of rainwater for your houseplants.
Place a few empty vases, old tuber ware, or a large bucket outside during the rainy season (that’s October through May for those of us in the Pacific Northwest!). Even if you don’t live in a climate with an abundance of rain, you can still collect whatever rainwater is available— a little is better than nothing!
Be sure to let the temperature of the rainwater warm up! We bring the bucket or vases full of rainwater inside for a day or two before watering our plants to avoid any cold stress to the root system.
Rainwater is amazing for soaking air plants like our Xerographica!
2. LESS LIGHT MEANS LESS FOOD AND WATER
Sunlight, water and fertilizer-these three ingredients fuel your houseplant’s growth. So when plants absorb less sunlight during the winter months, their need for the other two ingredients decreases too. Consider for a moment how photosynthesis works: plants harness light energy from the sun in order to convert that energy into fuel to grow roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds (we go into detail here Volume 2 of Sacred Elements Plant School ). For those of us living in the Pacific Northwest, winter runs from about October through January.
3. CLEAN THOSE LEAVES
Keeping your houseplant leaves clean helps them not only look more lush and lovely, but they photosynthesis better! It’s also a fantastic opportunity to check for pests that may have arrived during the summer or autumn--like mealy bugs, aphids or thrips. Here’s a helpful blog post about those pesky bugs and how to get rid of them! You may also notice that fungus gnats are flying around your home now that the widows are shut? Yup, it happens to us all. We got you covered there too! I also dive into more detail about cleaning your leaves using our with our Pest Care Duo on our Resources page.
4. HYDRATE YOUR INDOOR AIR
Keeping a humidifier going during the day or evening in the wintertime is a wise move in my experience. Just be sure your air circulation is also abundant to discourage any fungal growth. For those of you who have the heat turned up, your air will be drier and houseplants are much happier when they live in a more humid environment (and it’s more like being outdoors). In the late fall and into winter, the average ambient indoor humidity drops considerably to about 10-20% whereas during the spring and summer months indoor humidity ranges from about 40-60%. Here’s a helpful, previous blog post about hydrating your plants and yourself Showering with Plants
5. CHASE THAT LIGHT!
There are a few ways to go about this one. You can relocate your plants that need the most sunlight, like succulents and cacti to southern and western exposure windows (tip: you’ll notice succulents elongate or stretch when they don’t receive enough sunlight). Or you can use a grow light to supplement their needs OR you can replace a few light bulbs with Full Spectrum LED bulbs. If you do choose to keep your houseplants under grow lights, be sure to give them a rest period too. I like to turn on our grow lights in the morning when making coffee and off again before dinnertime, so they have about 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness. I can highly recommend this grow light station from Gardeners Supply. They gifted it to me a few years ago and I have grown many happy seedlings and houseplants under them. I also wrote an article for Gardeners about houseplant personalities you may enjoy reading here!
Hope this inspires some new ways to care for your houseplants with more time for your to relax and enjoy your winter.
As always, sending out the love and wishing you all health and wellness.
Karina and the Sacred Elements Team
Thrips! They really are awful but we are here to help!
Let’s just jump right in. Thrips are the most persistent and annoying houseplant pest I’ve dealt with in my many years of plant parenthood. Yes, even more annoying than those damn fungus gnats that fly right into your face.
A manual that will lead you to connect with the natural world, and encourage you to make it a daily ritual.
You’ll find Karina’s signature plant life imagery, sensory guided experiences and meditations, plant care tips, step by step guidance to create your own sacred space, and ways to live more sustainably.
*20% of the proceeds of every Sacred Elements Guidebook sold will go to organizations that supporting small, independent farmers and educate children to grow their own food.