#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, How-to, Plant Care, Style Tips

Fall Plant Care

October 19, 2015

It’s that time of year again…

And as the temperature changes outside – your plant care routine should change inside. We know houseplants thrive during the spring and summer, but the real challenge is helping them survive during the fall and winter.
Shop nationwide: The Olmsted USA; The August USA; The Calvert USA
Shop local: The Olmsted NYC; The August NYC; The Calvert NYC

That’s where we come in. Modify your current plant care routine by following our top seasonal tips below:

– Move 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. Keep in mind they might have picked up a few pesky friends during their summer vacation – so check your plants carefully for pests before bringing them inside.

– Dust Leaves

Like dust accumulates on your bookshelf, it also accumulates on the porous surfaces of your houseplant. Lightly dust off leaves and stems with a damp cloth every week or so. Accumulated dust on leaves plug their pores – making it difficult for plants to “breath” and conduct photosynthesis.

– Increase Humidity

Indoor humidity levels drop considerably during the fall as buildings fire up their heating systems. This can be devastating for houseplants, considering most common varieties are tropical in origin. Try to mist your plants weekly, or invest in a humidifier. And remember to never place potted houseplants next to, or on top of, a heating system.

– Maintain Light

The angle of the sun changes considerably with the season, so pay close attention as fall settles in. Some plants might require a new location – i.e. a spot closer to the windowsill – to receive close to the same amount of sun as they did during the summer. In addition, rotate your plants every week or two so they receive light on all sides.

– Forgo Fertilizer

Foliage growth slows down considerably during the fall and winter months, so withhold from using any fertilizer until next spring, which is the start of the growth season.

– Water Less

This is one of the most important tips to follow. Because plants growth rate is considerably slower in the fall and waiter, your plants won’t require as much water as they did during the spring and summer. You might find yourself watering half, or even two-thirds, less frequently. For example, that snake plant might find itself thirsty once every six weeks, instead of every three weeks. And make sure to use tepid water – a freezing cold shower can shock your plants.

* Nervous about under-watering? Follow your gut (or our guidelines below…) and remember you can always add water, but cannot extract.

The Sill houseplants: Fiddle Leaf Fig tree
(When the radiator above goes on – we’ll be moving the Fiddle!) 
Shop local: The Fiddle Leaf Fig

Is my plant thirsty?

1. Eye it. 

Small, tabletop plants typically need water as soon as the surface soil is dry. Take a peek under your plant’s foliage to check the color, and consequently moisture, of its potting mix. Moist potting mix will appear darker than dry potting mix.

2. Try it. 

Use your finger tip to check the consistency of the potting mix along the edge of the planter. If the first two inches of soil are dry – it’s usually a sign that it’s time to water your plant. Try to avoid poking around too much though. You don’t want to damage your plant’s roots.

3. Lift it. 

Your potted plant will feel much heavier after it has been watered. If it feels considerably lighter than after you watered it last, chances are it’s thirsty.

4. Water it. 

When watering, pour tepid water into the planter by the base of the plant until the water begins to trickle into the saucer below. Let the plant soak up the water for about 15 minutes, then empty any remaining water from the saucer. Do not let your plant sit in a saucer of ideal water, which can potentially cause overwatering and root rot.


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  • Jean Gogolin November 16, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Is there any way to subscribe to this blog via email?

    • Erin Marino November 17, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      Hi Jean! You could sign up for our weekly newsletter here: http://bit.ly/2g2syH7 which covers new products, workshops, and our blog content + plant care.