How To Keep Houseplants Alive In Winter

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

Let's talk about how "not" to kill your plants this winter. I'm not an expert gardener, but I gained so much confidence in the last few months doing house projects for our new home, including a full face over of our backyard. It's taking us longer than expected to complete our backyard project while juggling work and life, but we're almost to the finish line, and we're learning so much about indoor and outdoor gardening.

So here I am, as a Green Thumb Newbie, sharing a few things I learned in the last few months as we started our DIY backyard landscaping and indoor greenery project for our home. :)

How much and how often to water houseplants in winter

Most of the houseplants require less water during the winter months. Overwatering can be quite harmful to your houseplants during wintertime. You can stick your finger about an inch or two into the soil to check the moisture level. If the soil feels moist, don't water it. The soil should be consistently moist, and make sure it doesn't feel wet.

But keep in mind that your houseplants still need the right amount of moisture in the soil. If it's difficult to guess how much to water or how often to water them, you can control the humidity in the air using humidifiers or wet clothes near your houseplants. The plants will love the extra moisture without being overwatered.

How to provide sufficient lights for indoor plants during winter

Adequate lighting is also crucial for houseplants during the winter. Most plants go dormant or grow slower during the winter months and require less sunlight. However, most of them still need to have 6-8 hours of direct or indirect sunlight each day to remain healthy and ready to grow again in the spring.

You can place your houseplants around the windows where you get most of the daylights. You can also use grow lights for your houseplants. We prefer using grow lights during winter because we don't need to move planters around for sunlight during the day. There are many options for grow lights you can choose from, and they're affordable.

I'm using LED grow lights for indoors; it works great for our lavender plants and mini succulents. This one has three lighting modes (blue, red, blue+red), and each light mode has its purpose. We set the timer to 9 hours and leave the power on, and it automatically shuts off and restarts the next day at the same time I turned it on the day before.

There are many other options you can explore, so check them all out and get one that fits your needs --> Grow lights for Indoor Plants.

Fertilizing indoor plants during winter

Rule of thumb, plants don't need to be fed during winter. Your houseplants need plenty of resting time during the winter months, and fertilizing will disturb their resting and trigger them to grow, which will be more likely to result in weak growth. You can stop fertilizing them early in the fall and restart in early spring in a smaller dosage.

Repotting houseplants in winter

Repotting any plants during winter is not recommended because it can put a lot of stress on them while they're in a dormant stage or going dormant. Generally, repotting, similar to fertilizing, triggers new growth, disturbs their resting period, and may promote weak growth.

We had to repot 5 of our baby lavender trees in late fall because we got so busy and missed the time before the fall started. They were going dormant, so we quickly brought them inside after repotting and using grow light for 9 hours each day. It took about a week for them to become soft and another week to start looking healthy again. Even though we could get them back on the right track, it required a lot of care and attention. We can see the big difference between repotting during warm months vs. cold months.

If you have to repot your plants during winter, do it with a plan and pay extra attention to them every day.

Keeping the bugs away from houseplant throughout the winter

I prefer using essential oils for any indoor plant pest control at any time of the year. I use eucalyptus, rosemary, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender oils to repel pests for houseplants.

Get a spray bottle and a few different essential oils you like. Add about 20 drops of oils for an 8 oz spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray directly on soil and plants until bugs are gone. I also keep some mini artificial succulent planters around houseplants and drop concentrated essential oils to diffuse over time.

Extra tips:

1. Lemongrass, geranium, and frankincense have unique properties that encourage plant growth, especially in the early stages.

2. Citrus purifies the air and helps to cleanse your soil, and also helps to keep away bugs.

Share your wintery green thumb tips on Instagram with everyone by tagging @CreativeCraftsWomen