Indoor Plants

7 Things House Plants Don’t Like When Temps Drop

As the days get shorter, it’s a good time to adjust how you take care of your house plant buddies so they’ll stay happy throughout the winter.

Just like outdoor plants, your indoor plants need to rest over the winter months and take a little break from growing.

Autumn and winter is a time of rest and yes almost hibernation for indoor plants. Most plants need to go dormant in order to be ready for the spring growth spurt. Your house plants are no exception. Even outdoor tropical plants will stop or slow their growth during the cooler weather.

If you’ve pampered your plants all summer long, the last thing you want to do is watch them shrivel and die over the winter!

It’s not that hard to keep your plants thriving all year round. Your plants will stay happy and healthy if you avoid making these mistakes when the outside temps drop in fall and winter.

how to take care of house plants in winter

These are the 7 things house plants don’t like in fall and winter

1. Too much light

As leaves fall, you may get a lot more light through your windows than you did in the summer when outside trees were shading your home. Keep an eye on plants that are sensitive to too much direct light and move them if needed.

Plants that don’t like direct sunlight are:
Ferns
English Ivy
Parlor Palm
Cast Iron Plant
Chinese Evergreen
Philodendron

 

2. Not enough light

As days grow shorter, the sun doesn’t rise as high in the sky during the day. The amount of sunshine coming through your windows may not meet the needs of your light loving plants. Consider rotating and moving these plants closer to a window. But not too close. You don’t want them catching a chill!

Plants that need a lot of light are:
Fiddle leaf Fig
Weeping Fig
Jade Plant
Aloe Vera
Areca Palm

 

3. Being in a cold draft

A cold draft can be the kiss of death for sensitive tropical plants. Most plants hate being in a draft, especially if it’s a cold one. Be especially careful with your plants that won’t tolerate getting chilly at all. You may have to move them to a new location if they’re near a door or close to a window that’s not tightly sealed.

Plants that really don’t like drafts are:
Fiddleleaf Fig
English Ivy
Peace Lily
Rubber Plant
Orchid

 

4. Being in a hot spot

How can it be too hot for a tropical plant? Easy. When you place a plant on a mantel, next to a fireplace, radiator or other source of heat your plant will feel scorched. It will dry out faster and it’s leaves may turn brown and drop. There’s your sign. While your cat or dog may love basking next to a roaring fire, your plants won’t. Just move them to a new location for winter.

Plants that really don’t like hot drafts are:
Boston Fern
English Ivy
Peace Lily
Weeping Fig

 

5. Air that’s too dry

We naturally turn on the central heating and wood and gas fires for winter warmth. While that’s perfect for us, our plants don’t love the dry air they create. Oh some cactus and succulents won’t be bothered by the drier air, but your ferns and tropical orchids will appreciate a little extra misting.

IKEA makes a great mister, or reuse any spray bottle and fill with water (make sure there’s no soap residue left). Gently mist plants once a week. Another way to add extra moisture to large leafed plants like a Fiddle Leaf fig or Rubber Plant is to gently wipe their leaves with a damp cloth or even take them in the tub for a quick shower.

Plants that don’t like very dry air:
Boston Fern
English Ivy
Orchids
Bromeliad
Pothos
Philodendron

 

6. Over-watering

Remember that plants like to hibernate a little during the cold months? Not only does their growth slow, but they no longer need as much water. This is a good time to cut back on your weekly watering. Most plants will be fine with getting watered every other week.

As long as they’re not in hot spot (see #4) or naturally love moisture (see #5) this schedule should be fine. If in doubt always check the top inch of soil with your finger. If it’s dry, water. If not it’s safe to wait until it is.

Plants that don’t tolerate too much water
Hoya or Wax Plant
Begonia
Air Plant
Snake Plant
Succulents
Cactus

 

7. Fertilizing

Although plants love getting some extra food during the spring and summer months; it’s a good idea to stop feeding them in the fall and winter. When your plant is resting and dormant, it doesn’t need or want any extra nutrients, so it’s OK to stop fertilising until the spring.

how to take care of house plants in winter

That’s it! If you modify your routine around taking care of your plants during the winter months they’ll thrive and survive.

Meanwhile it’s good to keep an eye on plants to pick up on any signs of distress like wilting or drooping leaves (not enough water), brown (not enough water or moisture) or yellow spots (too much water). It’s easier to save a plant before it goes into meltdown.

Use the time change as a good reminder to change your plant care routine.

When clocks fall back in the fall, slow down watering and stop fertilising. When clocks go forward in the spring, you can start fertilising and watering again as normal.