It’s cold and gray outside but you can warm up your home with some live greenery. Plus houseplants improve the quality of the air we breathe. Choose from a nice selection of ivy, African violets, rosemary, Norfolk Island pine, blooming cyclamen and easy-to-grow succulents.
Here are a few tips to keeping your houseplants looking good in winter
- The more light the better. Since our days are so short and light is low, place your houseplants in the brightest part of the room. Also avoid drafty areas near a door and away from fireplaces or heat registers and vents.
- Hooray for humidity! Place your plants on a saucer with some small rocks or chat and keep a little water in the saucer at all times. Better yet, run a humidifier. It’s good for you as well as the plants!
- Water wisely. Check the plants every 7 to 10 days. Water thoroughly, so the water runs through the bottom of the pot. After a few minutes poor out any standing water that is not taken back up by the roots.
- Feed judiciously. Plants need to eat in the winter too, just like me and you. But they don’t need lots of food when they are in slow grow mode. So an organic feed like Espoma’s indoor liquid plant food is best.
When temperatures head south, 45°- 50° it’s time to bring your summer loving houseplants indoors. No matter what measures you take, there’s bound to be a little shock. Most plants thrive in our warm humid summer weather and pout when brought into dry heated indoor air. But it’s important to minimize the risk of unwanted pests hitchhiking indoors and aggravating the transition.
• Check your plants carefully, especially the intersections between leaves and stems and the leaf undersides for insects. If visible, pick off or hose plant leaves with a gentle steady stream of water.
• Next, check for soil dwelling insects. Scratch the surface of the soil and top few inches. If possible, slip the plant out of its pot and check for bugs at the bottom of the pot near the drainage hole.
• If your plants aren’t too big, a simple effective way to eliminate both soil and foliage pests, is to dunk the entire plant in a bucket of water with a few drops of dish soap. Let soak, tops and all for about 10 mins. Of course, this is easiest done outside but a bathtub works well indoors.
• With large houseplants this method is impractical. An insecticidal drench can be applied to the soil of bigger pots, also easier done outside. It’s important to soak the entire soil column and let the drench drain through the bottom, eliminating any pesky critters near the drainage hole.
• After bringing your plants indoors, keep your eyes on them for a few weeks. If pests still pop up, we can help you with a safe indoor spray.
• Final tip, a clean humidifier works wonders for your indoor plants during the dry winter months.