Introduction to Growing Indoor Plants in Winter Season
Indoor plants are popular because they are easy to take care of and also provide health benefits. Indoor plants are a great option for those who have little space for an indoor garden or for those who live in climates with severely cold winters. Growing indoor plants in winter provides the color, texture, and warmth to the home. Proper watering and lighting are the important components of indoor plant care in winter months, but humidity and temperatures also play a role. In this article we also discuss the below topics;
- How to keep indoor plants alive in the winter season
- Best indoor plants for winter
- Do houseplants grow in winter
- Best indoor plants for cold weather
- Take care of indoor plants in winter
- How often to water indoor plants in the winter season
- House plants dying in winter
A Step By Step Guide to Growing Indoor Plants in Winter Season
During the winter season, indoor plants can serve to keep your house looking lively and fresh. Of course, it takes extra care to keep them growing strong, particularly because most indoor plants are of the tropical variety and not comfortable in temperatures below 15°C. Your ability to keep indoor plants alive and healthy has a lot to do with putting the right plant in the right place. A common problem with indoor plants is overwatering, particularly in the winter months when less water is required. In the winter season, it’s important to use less fertilizer, 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 reduce the frequency of feeding by half during the winter season. Caring for houseplants in the winter season is much harder than it is during the summer season. Growing vegetable plants indoors, especially during the winter, can require a different approach than if you were to grow them outdoors in the summer.
Sun Requirement for Growing Indoor Plants in Winter Season
The sun changes course during the winter season. Track the sun in your home during the winter season and position your plants in a spot where they can soak up some rays. Exposure to a couple of hours of direct sunlight is important in winter because the sun is weaker and will develop your plant rather than scorching its leaves.
Sunshine can be hard to find during winter, but it’s necessary to keep indoor plants thriving. Check the sunlight requirements for each of your plants, and make sure all of them are within a brightly lit room, or in front of a window that gets plenty of sunlight. In the winter season, sunny windows do not provide enough light for healthy, stocky plants. Consider some type of lighting; either gets a plant light or a full-spectrum fluorescent light.
Temperature and Humidity for Growing Indoor Plants in Winter Months
Most houseplants are tropical and prefer temperature levels between 18 to 23°C during the day. For many indoor plants, temperatures below 10°C can cause problems. Avoid placing indoor plants near cold drafts or heat sources. Keep plants several inches away from exterior windows. In cold areas, if windows frost overnight, move plants away from windows at dusk. You can slip a heavy shade or other insulating material between plants and glass.
Homes may offer only 5 to 10% relative humidity in winter. Indoor plants like 40-50%. Signs of low humidity stress on indoor plants include brown leaf tips and the appearance of pests like Spider Mites. Low humidity is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome during the winter season. The humidity level in heated homes can drop to about 10 to 20% in winter and plants prefer a level closer to 50%. If you have a humidifier in your home, move plants to a spot where they will enjoy its benefits.
Fertilizers for Growing Indoor Plants during Winter Season
A slow-release fertilizer is the best way to feed your indoor plants. Apply a granule feed in autumn and spring and your plant have more than enough nutrients to survive winter. Clean plant leaves with a (50:50) solution of milk and water to keep leaves glossy and dust-free. Be sure to keep up regular care and position in a suitable environment and then the plants will grow successfully during winter.
Since most indoor plants go dormant during the winter, they don’t need to be fed. So, as a general rule, don’t fertilize houseplants during the winter season. It’s best to stop fertilizing them early in the fall season, and then start feeding them again with a weak dose of liquid indoor plant fertilizer in early spring.
Water Requirement for Growing Indoor Plants in the Winter
The most common problem indoor plants suffer from in the winter season is overwatering. About 95% of indoor plants need soil to dry out almost completely before watering. The plants do not need as much water as in the warmer months, but they do need some, especially if they are in a hot, dry room. Push your finger into the soil if it is completely dry, then water. Give them a good soaking allows draining thoroughly and then replacing them on their saucers. Cacti and succulents might not need any watering at all through the winter season.
Repotting Houseplants in the Winter Season
Don’t repot indoor plants during the winter season unless it’s necessary. Transplanting houseplants in winter can trigger new growth, and winter growth is weak and leggy. Repotting plants puts a lot of stress on them too, which could cause them to suffer through the winter season. Though, if the soil of a houseplant dries out almost as soon as you water it, or the plant is suffering because it is pot-bound, then you can repot it during the winter.
Tips for Growing Indoor Plants in Winter Season
- For growing vegetables, instead of using garden soil use a good quality potting mix. Because, it contains peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite which means it can absorb moisture well while resisting compaction.
- Use containers that have good drainage and also choose the correct size. Shallow-rooted greens can be planted in 2-inch deep containers while deep-rooted plants such as tomatoes must be planted in at least 12-inch deep pots.
- Place containers in south-facing windows since these spots receive the most sunlight during the winter season. If you do not have an area like this, you might have to use supplemental lighting to ensure that your plants receive an adequate supply of light throughout winter. The grow lights can also be used to start plant seeds indoors.
- Avoid putting containers in areas where the harsh winter draft can cause freeze burning. You should keep them away from heaters which can dry them out.
- Finally, pick the right plants to grow indoors in the winter season. Not all plants are hardy enough to survive the winter weather no matter how hard you try to control the growing environment. You need to pick the right plants that can survive this method of garden you want to be successful.
Controlling Houseplant Pests through the winter
Indoor plants suffer from some pests like aphids, scale insects, thrips, and mealybugs to thrive and breed over the winter. Inspect all your plants thoroughly for pests now, looking under the plant leaves and as well as on top. Keep inspecting your plants regularly throughout the winter season. Your indoor plants do not need fertilizer during the winter season, but those with smooth leaves will love a weekly wipe-over with a damp cloth to keep them looking clean and glossy.
Our houseplants may go dormant during the winter, but it’s prime breeding time for indoor plant pests. Some types of indoor plant bugs are difficult to eliminate. The best way to control plant pests is to regularly inspect your indoor plants for signs of bugs. The earlier you find those nasty pests in plants, the easier they are to control.
A good habit to get into is to check your indoor plants every time you water. If you find any bugs, start treating the indoor plant immediately. Organic insecticidal soap is the best for washing leaves and killing bugs.
Winter Care for Growing Indoor Plants
Please do not over-water your indoor plants. This is the main reason behind the death of plants. Summer season is a thirsty month when water readily evaporates and that’s why the intake of water for each plant was different. But the same measurement of water cannot be provided to indoor plants in the winter season. The topsoil remains dry so you need to dig your fingers at least about 2 inches below the topsoil. If that soil layer has dried, then only go for watering or else skip it. You should buy a nice planter that has drainage holes. These drainage holes help to channel out the excess water which otherwise rots the plant roots.
Indoor plants are sensitive to temperature variations and thus you must remove plants from all sorts of vents, drafty windows, or induction ovens. Always remember that too cold and the too warm temperature level is not at all good for plants to enjoy their stay. Keep the indoor plants on a side table near the window.
Most of the indoor plants remain in good condition in temperature between 18 to 23°C. Most of the houseplants would require 40 to 50% air humidity. But during the winter season, as windows and doors are mostly closed, the moisture level inside your house would be lower. So, you can buy a humidifier that would keep plants well. You must also buy a mister bottle to sprinkle water on leaves in case some of them turn extremely dry or crunchy.
Another important trick to growing your indoor plants well during the winter season is to give them a spin. So, every time you water the plants, give them a quarter turn. The important winter care tip for indoor plants is that you must look out for pests and insects. Carefully keep looking for pests especially if you have brought an outdoor plant inside your home just for the winter. A spider may infect these plants and thus periodically give a nice wash to the plant leaves.
Growing Vegetables Indoors During the Winter Months
The best choices for growing vegetables indoors during the winter months are Carrots, Beets, Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Tomatoes (cherry and mini varieties), Lettuces, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Potatoes
Some Indoor Plants for Growing in the Winter Season
1. Aloe Vera
This large succulent is a common houseplant and easy to grow. Though, if given ample light throughout the year, aloes flower profusely in winter. The plants need well-drained, coarse soil, and bright light. Aloe Vera plant has pollution-fighting and air purifying properties. With its minimalistic beauty, this plant looks great in any home. It doesn’t do well in extremely cold temperature levels and direct sunlight will burn it, so a nice spot indoors with indirect light is perfect.
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2. English Ivy
The English Ivy plant is typical ivy, climbing and covering any surface it grows on. English Ivy also does well in container gardens in the winter months. It’s easy to care for due to its low light requirements, and only needs to be watered when the soil is dry. Prune to your liking and watch your ivy plant thrive.
A plant with many benefic properties, celeriac can be grown in pots during the winter season or even in summer if you don’t have a garden. You should select a large pot, preferably made of unglazed clay or terra-cotta. You should use regular potting soil mixed with compost for growing this plant. The celeriac seeds should only be placed above the soil, as the plants need light to germinate. If the celeriac plants are too crowded, you can plant each one in an individual pot soon after they germinated.
If you love salads, then growing lettuce indoors in winter is a must. There are many lettuce varieties and some of them are more suitable to be grown indoors in pots than others. You should select your favorite lettuce variety from Tom Thumb, Baby Oakleaf, or Black-Seeded Simpson. You can plant the lettuce in any type of pot, the only requirement being the depth of at least four inches. Lettuce is easy to grow indoors even when the frost is biting outside. These cold-resistant vegetables will grow happily in window boxes placed close to a sunny window. You can find seeds in most gardening stores that you can plant in the potting mix. Within a week, these will start sprouting. In about a month, they’ll grow big enough to supply you and your family with salad greens in the winter season.
5. Corn Plant
Corn Plant care is easy in the winter months. Keep it away from drafts and direct sun, which might scorch the plant leaves. Keep an eye out for droopy yellow colour leaves, which are a sign of overwatering. Never allow the plant to stand in water and always have a drain hole in the pot. In the winter, keeps your corn plant looking lush by spraying the leaves with room-temperature water. Misting the plant leaves increases humidity during dry weather or because of indoor heating. You can also set the container on a tray filled with pebbles and then a little water in the bottom of the tray. As the water evaporates around the plant, it adds humidity.
6. Jade Plant
Jade plant gets more beautiful with age. Jade plant tolerates room temperatures year-round and is happy with indirect sun and little water. Jade plants will tolerate lower temperatures of about 7 to 12°C in the winter season.
7. Garlic Chives
Garlic chives are hardy perennial plants that survive winter even in very cold climates. Garlic chives are flavorful herbs that you can substitute for scallions. The best part about them is that while garlic bulbs require a particular temperature level to grow, these do not. All you need is to plant individual cloves of garlic in 1 inch of water and they will sprout in about a week. You can start harvesting them when they grow 8 to 10 inches long.
8. Culinary Herbs
Herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, and basil will happily grow indoors in the winter season. They don’t need a lot of sunlight and the plants will even thrive in small pots placed by the window in your kitchen.
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Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables that can successfully be grown indoors during winter. To grow tomatoes indoors you can use unglazed pots to ensure proper airflow. Also, check that the containers have good drainage before seeding the tomatoes. The pots should be about 6 inches deep and the seeds should be planted at about ¼ inch in garden soil. The tomato varieties that can be growing indoors in winter are Toy Boy, Tiny Tim, Florida Petite and Red Robin.
Arugula is easy growing vegetable to grow indoors. These cold-weather crops do well in cooler temperatures which means you can easily grow them even in the winter season. Just make sure to put the plants in a south-facing window and avoid exposing them to heat sources so the soil doesn’t dry out.
Beans are extremely easy to grow in winter. Green Beans are one of the easily grown vegetables during the winter season. The best part is that green beans can be grown even in a limited space which is productive. The Green bean vegetable has got many health benefits.
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