In a climate like ours, where outdoor plant life goes dormant under a blanket of snow from November through March, those cheerful green houseplants bursting with life around your home can become a bit of a lifeline. However, seeing their health begin to falter after months of winter can feel like an emergency of pretty real proportions. Many are friends you’ve been tending to for years, after all, and you’re not about to let them meet the garbage bin on your watch. If you’ve noticed your indoor greenery is looking a little worse for wear these days, don’t despair – reviving your houseplants is totally doable, and you don’t have to be a greenhouse expert to pull it off! Here are six simple things you can do:
1. Dust the leaves.
Everyone knows that plants need light, but many don’t realize that the dust which accumulates on leaves can actually prevent your plant from taking in light, reducing the efficiency of photosynthesis and affecting the overall strength and health of the plant. To make sure they’re taking in all available winter sunlight, such that it is, regularly swipe the front and back of leaves with a soft, damp cloth or better yet, use Neem Oil for even more glowing results. Neem Oil contains natural oils which help to clean and shine the leaves, maximizing your plant’s natural beauty. After all, if a leaf is shiny, it just looks healthier!
2. Rethink your plant placement.
Because the sun’s position in the sky changes over the course of the year, your plants might need a summer home and a winter home. Take a fresh look at your space and notice whether your plants are getting too much or too little light as compared to summer months. The number one sign that a plant is not getting enough light is that leaves will begin to pale. Remember that more isn’t always better – direct sunlight can be harmful to most plants, burning the leaves. Look into the ideal light conditions for your various species, and then take a Saturday to do some reorganizing. Think of it as the winter version of gardening!
3. Feed – but don’t overfeed.
Plants need more than just water and light – they’ll really thrive when they’re fed properly. There are different schools of thought about how much to feed your plants over the winter, but we find it works well to fertilize between Easter and Thanksgiving. This is because plants are naturally dormant in the winter, and it’s best not to encourage growth by giving fertilizer over this period. Once it’s time to start feeding, you can’t go wrong with this all-purpose plant food for almost any plant.
4. Boost humidity with misting or moisture trays.
There are no two ways about it, February in Winnipeg means your home has been filled with forced-air heat for months now, and that creates a really dry environment. While running a humidifier is certainly an option, there are simple and cost-effective ways to specifically target humidity-loving plants like orchids, tillandsias, and ferns. One option to revive your houseplants is to regularly mist your plants. Another option is to fill a plate or tray with river rocks and water, then place your humidity-hungry plant on top of this. The water evaporating from the tray will create a miniature atmosphere of humidity around your plant.
5. Do NOT overwater.
This mistake is so common that we probably should have put it first. So many of us show our houseplants love by watering… and then watering some more. However, overwatering is the number one killer of indoor plants, so before you go back to the tap, check out the signs your plant is giving you. While browning leaves can signify a need for humidity and drooping leaves insufficient watering, leaves that are yellowing might be telling you to back off with that watering can. Make sure your pots have proper drainage, and that soil is dry to the touch before you water. Better yet, get yourself a moisture meter to eliminate the guesswork and to ensure the optimum moisture level for all of your plants.
6. Get some advice.
Last but not least, we are always here to answer your questions and offer ideas for solving your nagging plant problems, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Believe us, we can – and do! – literally talk about plants all day. Call or email us, send a message on Instagram, or of course, stop by! We’ll do everything we can to help.
Spring is just weeks away and we can see the days starting to get longer, so show your plants a little extra love now and before you know it, they’ll be back to their summer selves. And if you’ve suffered a plant loss this winter or are just starting to wet your green thumb, check out these 6 hard-to-kill houseplants for some great options to get you back on track.