January has arrived and we are so thrilled for a new year of gardening indoors and out! Now is the perfect time to prepare your houseplants for the chilliest months of the year because even though they are indoors, the outdoor weather can still affect their growing habits and health. To keep your houseplants looking and feeling happy, follow this 5-step guide from our Green Team.
- Consider New Lighting -
It is important to make sure your plants are getting enough light indoors as the seasons change. During the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky, which may affect how your plants receive light through your home’s windows. If you notice that your plants are starting to look leggy, or have elongated stems, it may be a sign that they are not getting enough light. Consider moving them to a sunnier spot or using grow lights to supplement their light needs through the winter. Stop by our garden pharmacy at our year-round locations to chat with our Green Team members about what light options are available for your home.
- Gauging Temperature -
Make sure you keep an eye on the temperature in your home. Most houseplants prefer to be kept in a range of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature in your home falls outside of this range, it can stress your plants and cause them to struggle. Try to keep them away from drafty windows, doors, or even on the floor, and consider using a humidifier and/or a space heater in the same rooms as your plants to keep their environment warm. Although we may be thinking mostly of cold in the winter, we also have to consider heat drafts from the vents which can cause plants to brown around the edges as well.
- The Way of Water -
It is important to water your plants consistently throughout the season. However, overwatering is one of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to caring for houseplants in general. So, be sure to check the soil moisture regularly and only water your plants when the soil is dry to the touch. On the other hand, don't let your plants dry out completely, as this can also be detrimental to their health.
- Keeping Your Plants Fed -
Fertilize sparingly. While it's important to feed your plants to keep them healthy, it's easy to overdo it. During the winter months, your plants will likely be growing more slowly and will not need as much plant food as they do during the growing season. A diluted liquid plant food applied every few weeks should be sufficient or even a slow-release granular plant food, like our McDonald Greenleaf, can be applied even less often and achieve great results. Always follow the instructions on the container of plant food you are using as well as the advice from our Green Team.
- Controlling Pests -
Pests can be a problem for houseplants at any time of year. Keep an eye out for common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs and take steps to control them if necessary. An insecticidal soap and neem oil can be effective at ridding most pests from your plants, but you may need to use heavier artillery like granular insecticide and foliar sprays to get the job done if you have a larger problem.
By following these simple tips, you can help keep your houseplants happy and healthy all winter long. To learn more about what’s growing on at our garden center, check out Mike, the Garden Guru, and his webinars with new plants, products, and expert planting advice. To keep inspired and grow with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to dig into the joys of gardening!