Fall Houseplant Maintenance
As temperatures drop and the days get shorter, the needs of our indoor plants change. In the warm months of summer, they flourished with the strong sunshine and extra heat, but with the waning days and the sun’s intensity decreasing, your plant will start to slow down, and go into dormancy. Follow these steps to help your plant rest through the winter and be ready to grow again come spring.
Reassess Your Lighting.
The plants that did well further from the window in the summer sun, will possibly need more light as the days shorten. Be sure that you know the light needs of your plant, and pay attention to which ones seem to get less light than they did before. Remember to wipe down the leaves of your plant often to remove any dust, as this can prohibit photosynthesis. It may be wise to move your plant a few feet closer to the window in order to give it the light that it needs, or supplement with artificial light for some of your larger plants that cannot be moved.
Locate Drafts/Adjust Humidity.
Most plants can be sensitive to the dry air from heating vents, and the cold drafts of windows and doors. Take care that your plant is not directly next to a vent or in a draft. Average household humidity in the summer is sufficient for most plants, but cold weather and indoor heating causes household humidity to drop considerably in winter and your tropical plants will likely need supplemental humidity. Supplement by grouping your plants together, utilizing pebble trays, frequent and consistent misting, or running a humidifier to meet those needs.
Fall brings the end of the growing season. You will want to halt your feeding, and refrain from any repotting until next spring. Your plant is no longer actively growing, so any fertilizer could actually do more damage than good. Forcing a plant to grow outside of the growing season could cause your plant to stress, and cause harm to any future growth.
Slow Down Watering.
Plants in dormancy require less water than those that are actively growing. This, paired with cooler temperatures and less sun, will mean that your plant will stay wet longer than it did in the growing season. Allow additional time in between waterings to allow your plant to dry out in these new conditions. We recommend utilizing a soil probe or moisture meter to check the moisture level of the soil.
Be mindful that tropical plants will not survive below 50 degrees. If you are going out of town for a few days, ensure that your home will stay warm enough for your plants while you’re away.
Now that your plants have taken a break, it’s time for you to as well. Take a deep breath, enjoy the growth of the summer, and begin to plan for next spring. Come Spring many of your plants will need to be potted into a larger pot making now the perfect time to hunt down your favorite planter and maybe even add a few new plants to your collection- maybe, just maybe, this will help curb your desire to see new growth until springtime.