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Guide: Overwintering Houseplants

Now that the weather has cooled off, you’ve brought your houseplants in. (If you haven’t, you should—there’s been frost some nights that can do some irreparable damage to your plants.) Make sure the plants you’re bringing in are pest-free to avoid exposure to your other plants; applying a systemic insecticide is an excellent way to prevent insect pests. Check them periodically to make sure none have hatched since they’ve come into your home.

Place your plants in the proper light conditions; tropicals, for example, usually prefer bright light. However, keep in mind that some windows will give more sun as the leaves fall off the trees and that not all houseplants will want direct sun. Also remember that windows can get cold and emit drafts as the temperatures drop. Most houseplants won’t like this draft so keep them far enough away from the glass of the window. You know your home’s heat and humidity in the winter months – do you have a wood or pellet stove, forced hot air blowing? Just like drafty windows, these are all areas to avoid placing your plants near because most plants need some moisture in the air.

For the most part, caring for plants during the winter is simple. Water them when dry, and for plants that require a little more humidity, place them in a tray filled with gravel and water. Avoid fertilizing your houseplants until late February or early March, when the days start getting longer, and your plants begin showing signs of new growth.

Wait to re-pot houseplants until they’re actively growing; right now, they’re dormant and not producing new growth, so re-potting during the winter will stress them out.

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