A little extra TLC can keep your houseplants happy and healthy through the winter. Watch out for these common winter houseplant woes:
Lower light levels. The days are shorter and the sun much less intense. Remember to turn your plants regularly so they don’t start to lean towards what little light that they can find. Once a week, rotate your houseplants 180 degrees.
Low humidity. The more your heater runs, the drier you home’s air gets-as low as 15% humidity. That’s drier air than in the Sahara! This forces your houseplants to lose moisture through their leaves, and this loss can sometimes be greater than what they can absorb through their roots. This can result in chronic wilting or even dried, brown leaf edges. There are a few things you can do to counteract this:
- Group your houseplants together so they create an area of higher humidity. Each plant’s lost water actually helps the neighboring plants.
- Create a pebble tray by filling a low, waterproof container with gravel (large saucers work great for this) and adding water to just below the surface of the gravel. Place plants on top of the gravel.
- Lightly mist the leaves of your houseplants. The leaves shouldn't look wet after you’you've finished.
- Use a humidifier in your home. This will make you more comfortable also, and can keep wood furniture from developing cracks too.
Pest infestations. Often a few unnoticed pests will explode into a full-on infestation. Spider mites in particular thrive in the low humidity of the winter home, but mealybug and aphids can also cause problems. Check your plants carefully at least once a month, observing new growth (a favorite of aphids), the undersides of leaves (spider mite havens) and the areas where leaves meet stems (mealybugs often hang out here). If you find any pests treat immediately to avoid a bigger problem.
Too much fertilizer. The low humidity in winter often means the soil gets quite dry, especially on older plants. Excess fertilizer left behind in dry soil can damage plant roots. Additionally, most houseplants are nearly dormant in winter, putting out little or no new growth. With no growth to “use up” fertilizer, the excess can accumulate in the plant leaves, causing burning. If you use organic fertilizers, these issues are less of a concern, but you’re still wasting money if you feed at the same rate as you do in summer. Reduce fertilizing to ½ or less of the amount you used in summer-just enough to keep leaves nice and green. Pick back up in spring when you see new growth again.
Ugh! What’s nastier than a sack of crawly caterpillars hanging from your trees? How about a dozen of ‘em?
Quick tips for avoiding the fungal disease Brown Patch in lawns
Blueberries make great container plants! Watch this video from our friends at Espoma for tips and see how easy it is to grow blueberries in containers.
Good container plantings require little maintenance aside from watering and can enhance your home through the spring, summer, and fall.
Unlike some other flowering plants, crapes will develop their flower buds on new growth.
With over 1,700 different species, Begonias (family Begoniaceae) is the fifth most diverse class of plants.
Organic methods can be very effective when used preventively or before pest populations become too large.
Is your forsythia starting to bloom for Christmas? Here's why some plants flower during warm winter days.
This is a question we have been asked frequently this fall.
Where and why this is not bad advice, and where it’s a terrible idea.
Plant some of these low-maintenance (and critter resistant) spring bloomers this fall.
Don’t wait until your summer annuals give up the ghost to plant your fall pansies!
Don't cut too much if you decide to tidy up your crape myrtles in late summer and fall!
It looks like someone Silly Stringed your garden, but it's actually a whole lot weirder.
Rose sawfly is a common pest of roses. Identifying rose sawfly damage is important to select the best control methods.
There is a method to insure that you can have fresh cilantro all summer.
Camellias are relatively unfussy and problem-free shrubs, but they can develop camellia leaf gall, a unique and odd-looking disease.
Here’s how to manage-and maybe even prevent-an aphid problem in your landscape.