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The 10 Best Winter Tips for Houseplants

The 10 Best Winter Tips for Houseplants
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Houseplants make a home more welcoming, especially during our long, cold New England winters. Living plants that are kept inside year-round are not only aesthetically pleasing, they actually improve the indoor air quality during the season that we need it most—those dark months when we are cooped up and can’t get out in the fresh air as much as we might like. Keeping houseplants healthy throughout the winter will not only improve the atmosphere of your home by providing color and beauty, but will also neutralize airborne toxins and impurities while releasing oxygen-rich clean air. To keep your plants at their peak of health, here are the 10 best winter tips for houseplants that are free, easy and will only take a few minutes out of your day.

Houseplant Tip: Place plants in a south facing window or under an artificial light source for at least one full hour a day.

The 10 Best Winter Tips for Houseplants

  1. Place plants in a south-facing window or under a light source for at least one full hour a day.
  2. Make sure plants have adequate drainage.  Never use plant pots without proper drainage or drain holes, as trapped water will lead to root rot
  3. Rotate the sides of plant pots every week or so to ensure plants get equal lighting on all sides.
  4. Don’t over water. In most cases, using enough water to moisten the soil is adequate. Plants such as succulents do not require regular watering. For succulents, a thorough misting once a week should be enough.
  5. Don’t let plants dry out completely between watering. Soil that is too dry can cause stress  on plants and may even kill some.
  6. Trim and deadhead houseplants to avoid the “leggy” look and to remove past-peak foliage.
  7. Re-pot root-bound plants. If roots are growing out from the bottom of your plant pot’s drainage holes or on top of the soil, this is a good indication that your plant is outgrowing the pot. To re-pot, gently remove the plant and loosen the root ball. Find a container that has suitable drainage and allows for at least  1/3 of the entire space to be free of roots. Fill partially with clean potting soil and gently place the plant in. Cover the roots with more clean potting soil.  Water lightly.
  8. Add a few Tablespoons of compost once a month to potted plants to boost the soil’s nutrient content.
  9. Consider moving some plants into the bathroom.  Bathrooms are ideal environments for plants because of the high humidity from the shower.
  10. Use the correct size pot.  A plant should have enough room to completely cover the roots with soil and allow for additional root growth. A pot that is too small will become root bound and require frequent watering.  A pot that is too large requires additional watering to just reach the roots and actually slows the growth process of the plant because most of the plant’s energy is focused on establishing roots rather than nurturing the plant.

Following these winter tips for houseplants will keep them healthy and thriving throughout the year.

Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley (Fleming) Wigglesworth is an award-winning freelance journalist from Maine specializing in maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is also a certified Maine Master Gardener who writes gardening articles on a regular basis for Yankee Magazine. Her work can be found in the following publications: The York County Coast Star, Portsmouth Herald, Bangor Daily News, Yankee Magazine (online), National Fisherman Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, Tourist News, Points East Magazine, Coastal Angler and The Maine Lobstermen's Association’s “Landings.” Follow Shelley on Facebook.
Updated Monday, January 21st, 2013

2 Responses to The 10 Best Winter Tips for Houseplants

  1. Marcia Stohlberg January 23, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks for these great tips. I always mulch my potted plants, windowboxes and planters outside, so I decided to try mulching my houseplants as well, with wonderful results. We have a forced hot air heating system, but any type of winter heating system can be hard on plants. I discovered that the mulch keeps my houseplants from the stress of repeated wet-dry-wet-dry cycles, just as it does outside in the summer. The mulch also helps to retain soil moisture, so I don’t worry if I’m going to be away from home for a few days.

    • Shelley Wigglesworth January 26, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      Great tip Marcia! Thanks for sharing and for reading!

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