Plants will likely have reduced water needs as the seasons change and we get further into winter. This is primarily because there is less light available, which means that plants will be doing less photosynthesis and will then be using less water. It is difficult to say for sure how frequently to water your plants and different plants have different water needs, but a good rule of thumb for regular tropicals that need bright indirect light is to check them (not water them) every 7-10 days. To check the plants for water mean to test the soil and see how dry or wet it is and determine from there if the plant needs watering. To check the soil you can use a moisture meter or your finger and insert either 2-3" inches into the pot and feel for moisture. If that top layer of soil has dried out then you can water your plants. If you can still feel moisture in that top layer, then hold off on watering and check the plant in another week. Overwatering is one of, if not the main cause of stress in houseplants over the fall and winter, so it is very important to be checking the soil before you water and not watering on a schedule.
Can my plants still get bugs in the winter?
Yes it is possible for houseplants to get insect problems throughout the winter months. Insects can appear on houseplants in a number of ways. Sometimes, insect pests will lay eggs in the soil, which hatch in the middle of winter, leading to an insect problem on plants that seemingly never had insects or on plants that you thought you got rid of the insect problem on. Other pests, such as spider mites, like to attack plants that are stressed out, making winter a perfect time for them, as many houseplants are stressed out with our low light and cold winters. Often, insect damage is not noticed by most houseplant owners until it is almost too late, so it is always good to check over your plants for insects on a weekly basis. As winters can be stressful on houseplants, we recommend that all houseplant owners have a bottle of End All on hand so an insect problem can be treated as soon as it appears.
Can I fertilize my houseplants in winter?
Yes houseplants can be fertilized in winter, but much less often than you would during the spring and summer. We recommend fertilizing plants on their fourth or fifth watering. We make sure to say every fourth or fifth watering instead of a specific time period like every 3 weeks because plants have different watering requirements, and fertilizing in this way should lead to less overwatering issues. It is also important to fertilize so infrequently because in our winters, houseplants are focused on surviving and we don't want to force them to grow when they just need to get through the winter, but a dose of fertilizer every 4th or 5th watering can help give them a boost and help them survive winters in our house.
Will my Houseplants be ok if they are near a door or floor register?
A vast majority of houseplants grow in tropical areas in the wild and cannot handle our winters or even cold drafts. It is best to move plants away from doors that will open through the winter as these cold drafts can hurt or even kill tropical houseplants as they would never feel cold temperatures like we have here. For similar reasons it is also good to pull plants away from windows a few inches, especially on cold days, as even brand new windows will let some cold in through them.
- It is also best to keep houseplants away from areas where they will be blown on by floor registers. The air coming out of registers in winter is hot and very dry, which will damage and stress out plants, often leading to crispy and brown leaves or even whole branches of your plants. The warm and dry environment is the perfect environment for spider mites to develop, so it is best to move plants away from registers or places where hot air will be blowing on them.
Why are my Houseplant leaves yellowing?
This question may seem simple, but has a very complicated answer, often without a definitive answer. Yellow leaves can be a sign of many different things, and where they start to yellow can be a sign of what the problem is.
If the leaves are yellowing at the tips first, that usually means the plant is experiencing some sort of root stress. The exact type of root stress can be hard to pin down. Root stress can mean that the roots are too dry (underwatering), too wet (overwatering), or too crowded (rootbound). Determining the root cause (pun) of root stress is paramount if the problem is to be fixed. The best way to figure out the problem is to first determine if the soil is too wet or too dry. Often in winter, plants are overwatered and the soil is much too wet, leading to root rot and yellowing of the leaves. If the roots are too tight in their pot, then it is time to pot up the plant into a pot 2 or so inches larger than the one it is in now.
If you are seeing spots dispersed randomly on your leaves surrounded by yellow halos, it is possible that your plant has a fungal problem. This can be caused by a few things, but most frequently is the result of overwatering. To treat the fungal problem we recommend cutting off any leaves that are particularly infected and then spraying the entire plant with a fungicide, such as the Garden Fungicide we sell here in store. The plant can be sprayed in the same way one would spray End All, making sure to get both sides of the leaf and spraying once a week for three weeks.