Caring for your plants during Spring and Summer months is a no-brainer, but when Winter comes along, it's time to take a little extra care to make sure they keep thriving. Here are our do's and don'ts on caring for your apartment plants during cooler months.
Repot Your Plants
Pot-bound plants struggle to grow and can become root-bound pretty easily. Lift the plant out of the pot and check how the roots look; if they seem crowded, are looping around, or creeping out of the drainage hole, it's time to give them some breathing room. Choose a pot at least one size larger than the pot the plant currently inhabits.
During the winter months, the humidity in your apartment decreases. If you have a humidifier in your apartment home, that's your best bet. No humidifier? No problem! Here are some alternative ideas:
1. Cluster your plants in groups and move them to your bathroom. Plants naturally release water through their leaves by transpiring, so they benefit by being close together. Additionally, they absorb moisture from your shower time!
2. Place your plants on or near a tray of water. But not directly in the water. Place pebbles or stones in the tray to raise the bottom of the pot above the water level in the tray, and place the pots on top of the stones.
3. Mist them - just know you may need to mist multiple times a day to really see any benefit because indoor temperatures evaporate moisture quickly.
Tip: If you begin to see brown leaf tips on your plants, that's a sign of dry air. Increase the humidity around your plants.
In Winter, sunlight is at its lowest due to shorter days. There are there fewer hours of sunlight and rays come in at a lower angle. Be mindful of which plants are getting the adequate sunlight they’re used to. A good spot is a South or West-facing window that gets a good amount of light all day. Additionally, adding supplemental grow lights can't hurt either.
Photo courtesy of Camden: Living room in apartment home at Camden Lakeway
During the colder months, growth slows down and most plants go dormant. With fewer hours of sunlight combined with cooler temps, our plants aren’t as thirsty. Overwatering can cause slow weak growth or worse- root rot and fungus gnats!
My winter watering routine - reduce H20 to once every two weeks. For succulents, every three weeks. In my experience, cacti need watering only once a month (some cacti can go the whole season without water). Although, some winter flowing plants and tropicals will still require regular watering.
Tip: Don’t shock your plants with a cold shower, use room temperature water.
Similar to overwatering, too much fertilizer can harm our plants as well. Less is more in terms of our plant’s winter diets. Be patient and wait until new growth starts in the late winter or early spring- then resume fertilizing.
Leave them outside on a patio or balcony
If you have moved your plants outside to your patio or balcony during the summer months, bring them in before temperatures reach a low of 55F. Check thoroughly to be sure you aren’t bringing any unwanted pesty roommates into your apartment. Examine both sides of leaves for insects, as well as the stem and soil.
Photo courtesy of Camden: Patio in apartment home at Camden Foxcroft
Tip: Clean the leaves! Use a damp cloth to wipe any standing dust off of your plant. If you have more time, stand the plant in a lukewarm shower for five minutes and then allow the plant to dry fully (make sure the drain holes aren't leaking, which could cause carpet stains) before putting back in its regular location.
Plants are a wonderful addition to any apartment home, helping to clean the air and offering some vibrant color to enjoy year-round. With these Winter plant tips, your apartment plants will live to see the next Spring season and bring you joy throughout the year.