Most common houseplant winter problems
Everyone has their own story, and the same applies to houseplants. There are about 380,000 different plant species and they all require a different kind of care. That is why being a PLNTSparent is kind of a full-time job!
In winter, the days are shorter and the temperatures are a lot lower than during growing season. It’s no longer a secret that a plant needs water and light for photosynthesis to take place. That’s why plants don’t grow in winter, similar to a kind of hibernation!
Some people love it and others hate it - yes, we’re talking about the cold. Luckily, we can easily dress for the cold, but unfortunately jackets or scarves for plants don’t exist. This is why it’s extra important to keep your plants at a constant temperature during winter. The ideal temperature for houseplants is between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. We recommend a temperature closer to 25 degrees than to 15 degrees, because most indoor plants come from the tropics and are used to these high temperatures. In nature there’s also a difference between day and night temperature, so heating at the night is really not necessary ;-).
Heating and draught
Okay, plants are clearly not fans of fluctuating temperatures. The location of your plant can have a big influence on this. A favourite spot for plants is often the windowsill. How nice is it to fill this empty spot with green and let other people enjoy your mini jungle at the same time? Nothing wrong with this spot, except that in winter you have to keep an eye on it. The heating is often right under a windowsill or single-glazed windows often produce draughts. But didn’t tropical plants enjoy heat? Well, yes, they do! But putting the roots on top of a heater is too much and will dry out your plant very quickly. Brown edges and/or tips of the leaves are often a sign of too warm and/or dry air. Therefore, put your plants in a different spot or on a pedestal where they still get enough light. The Window Display Clamp, for example, is an ideal solution! This also reduces the risk of annoying pests such as mealybugs. These bugs spread through airflows.
Photo by @pakhuis.wonen
Soil too moist
Because there is less light in winter and the temperatures are a lot lower, this also has consequences for the water requirements of a plant. In winter, your plant needs less water than in the growing season from March to October. A common mistake in the winter is over-watering your green friend. This often results in yellow leaves or even worse. A water meter can help you creating the perfect watering schedule. There are also a lot of substrates that can help. It is a good idea to mix your potting soil with hydro grains or perlite for example, as these substrates also absorb water!
Mould on the potting soil
A sign of a too humid soil is mould on top of the potting soil. It is not such a pleasant sight, but fortunately these moulds won’t do your plant much harm. You can easily remove these moulds from the potting soil with some kitchen paper. Then it is a matter of letting the potting soil dry, so the moulds in the soil don’t grow any further. Does the mould return after watering? Then sprinkling cinnamon on the potting soil can help. This is a natural anti-fungal remedy and smells good too!
Root rot is a mould that’s caused by giving your plant too much water. The excess water seeks its way down into the pot, to the roots. Because the roots are actually under water, they will eventually rot and break. You really don't want this for your plant, because it is very difficult to save her from drowning. It’s therefore important to change your watering schedule in winter and always use a pot with drainage holes, such as terra cotta pots, so that excess water can drain away.
Too much nutrition
During the growing season, we’re used to spoil our plants with plant nutrition. In winter, however, they prefer to skip this meal. Because of the lesser amount of light and the lower temperatures, the growth of the plant stops in winter. That’s why feeding your plant isn’t really necessary in this season. Too much nutrition can even harm your plant because too many minerals in the soil can damage the roots. The Naomi Plant Sensor not only measures the water requirements, temperature and the amount of sunlight, but also the nutritional value of your soil. It’s very handy to be able to check this with the sensor, so you don’t spoil your plant too much. ;-)
Humidity levels too low
Humidity is a big term among our PLNTSlovers. It indicates the percentage of water vapour in the air. Especially tropical plants thrive in a higher humidity, because they‘re used to it by nature. Because in the winter the heating is turned on more often the humidity in the house will drop faster. Not so nice for you and your plants. A lot of plants show this by having discoloured leaves or dried up curled leaves. This can easily be solved by using a humidifier such as Geurwolkje. You can also use a plant sprayer around your plants to keep the humidity between 40% and 60%.
We hope that the topics above will protect your green beauties living a healthy plant life! Do you still have questions about the health of your plant after reading this blog? Check out our PLNTSdoctor page for the best care and most common plant problems.
While being in the perfect green environment, Melanie loves to inspire you with new PLNTS, care products and accessories. Not only by writing, but also as a host of our PLNTSlive's on Instagram!