Happy 1st day of fall 🙂 As the weather gets colder and dryer, it will probably be our poor skin that will feel the environmental changes first. But your dry skin and extra layer also signal that it’s time to change-up your plant care regimen. While finding that perfect new sweater is (somewhat) easy enough, knowing exactly what to change up in your plant care routine is a bit trickier. But as the temperature changes outside – know that your care routine should change inside.
Modify your current plant care routine and make the transition from summer to fall flawlessly with our tips below. Because we should do our best to help our houseplants survive during the colder months – when we’ll need them the most.
Have you ever noticed days are shorter, and your place turns darker faster, during the winter? It is because the angle of the sun changes considerably during seasonal transition. That being said, you want to pay extra attention to your indoor plants at this time. Some plants might require a new location – i.e. a spot closer to the window – to receive close to the same amount of sun as they did during the summer, when days were longer and sunnier. For example, you might want to move your succulent to your windowsill, instead of sitting on coffee table. In addition, you might want to rotate your plants every week or two so they receive similar amounts of light on all sides. Another tip is to make sure your curtains are up during the day so your plants can get as much light as possible.
Water Less (Frequently)
We just talked about how significant less light plants will get during colder months. Less light (stimulation) means slower growth rate which equals less water — you don’t want to drown your plants basically… For example, you could find yourself watering half, or even two-thirds, less frequently. (This is exactly what plant myth 6 is about.) A good rule of thumb is to check your plants regularly to see if the soil is completely dry. For example, that snake plant might find itself thirsty once every six weeks now, instead of every three weeks like in the summer. In addition, it is important to keep in mind though how dramatically drier the air might be – so even if your houseplant might require less frequent waterings, it might also require more humidity. Make sure you poke around in it’s potting mix and see if it’s dry before you water your plants.
I often find myself waking up with chapped lips once the weather gets colder and the humidity drops considerably. Most common houseplants are native to tropical environments, and the dry air can be devastating to them. Try to mist your indoor plants weekly, or invest in a humidifier (your skin will thank you too!). And remember to *never* place potted plants next to, or on top of, a heating system – or in the line of a cold draft (i.e. a window you’ll open regularly come winter). These extreme changes in temperature will cause serious stress to your plants! Another way to combat the low humidity situation is to group plants together that require similar care — they will help each other out. (You would definitely want to do that with Ferns.) Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also an easy way to increase humidity levels.
Move Them Indoors
If you moved any of your plants outside for the summer, it’s time to bring them back indoors before it gets too chilly! It is best to relocate them back inside before nighttime temperatures dip below 50 degrees F. Also, make sure you check your plants very carefully for any pests, as it might have picked up a few during those hot, humid, summer days. Even if you don’t initially spot anything, you might want to give your plant a gentle hose down just incase. It is also a good idea to be extra cautious and spray your plant’s leaves with a generous amount of diluted neem oil (never hurts to be too careful, right?).
Repot Your Plant (Last Call!)
Spring and summer are the time, with warmer temperature and longer days, when plants push out most of the new growth. The being said, some of your plants probably have increased dramatically in size – maybe they’ve even outgrown their current pots and need to be repotted now. (Find our top tips and tricks to repot your plant here.)
Foliage growth slows down considerably during the fall and winter months, so you can withhold from using any fertilizer until next spring, which is the start of the growth season. Give your houseplants the essentials (light and water) to sustain them through winter, but don’t fuss over them or kill them with kindness.
Fall is also a great time to work on checking off some tasks on your design wishlist. If you always dreamed of installing floating shelves, hanging baskets, ceiling hooks, now is the time. Just make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold your houseplant after a thorough watering, which will make them heavier overall. Your trailing houseplants, like pothos and philodendrons, will thank you.
With all things considered, remember it’s OK to ditch some plants outside, too. If a plant has struggled to survive during spring and summer, colder months with less than ideal conditions, like low humidity and dry heat, will likely cause it to get worse. Really, it is ok to say goodbye — we all grow through what we grow through 😉
As always, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us at @TheSill, if you have any questions. We will brave the winter together.