Houseplant care in winter

Caring for houseplants in winter is very different to looking after them in summer. Depending on the type of houseplant you have (cacti and succulents, tropical plants, UK natives, etc.) they may need far less water, more time in a sunny spot, or even a period of dormancy before they begin to revive themselves next spring.

Remember, just because your housesplant is looking a bit sorry for itself, doesn’t mean that it’s on its way out! Instead of taking it to a plant graveyard (i.e. the bin), do your research and look up the species’ needs. You could save yourself a lot of dead plant heartache by adjusting your houseplant care routine accordingly!

Samantha Jones, gardening expert at MyJobQuote, provides some general houseplant care tips to help your greenery survive the winter.

1. Don’t Feed your Plants

One of the most important things to remember with winter houseplant care is to avoid feeding plants with fertilisers or liquid feed, as they won’t grow well during the winter.

2. Avoid Overwatering

Watering houseplants in winter


It’s easy to overwater plants in the winter too. So, cut down on the amount of watering you do. Feel the soil or check the base of the pot first before watering. Usually, if it’s completely dry it’s fine to water, but if it’s still moist then you can leave it. In fact, some plants can benefit from just a light misting, or no watering at all if they’re a succulent or cacti. These basic steps should help keep plants healthy and avoid excessive wet rotting stems and roots.

3. Maintain Temperature

Humidifying houseplants in winter


Another thing to be aware of is that plants don’t like temperature changes. So, fill your watering can a few hours before feeding your plants to get the water up to room temperature. And keep them in the room with the most consistent temperature. Rooms that are cold at night but heated during the day (or vice versa) can cause your plant to suddenly drop all its leaves. 

4. Store Them High Up

If you notice yellowing or curled leaves, this can also be a sign of an unhappy plant. Keeping them off the floor in draughty homes can help, so pop them on a shelf or in a plant stand. And move them away from wood-burning stoves or hot radiators to avoid excess heat.

5. Keep Them in Natural Light

Houseplants on windowsill


Your plants won’t be getting as much sunshine compared to the warmer months, so clean the dust from your leafy plants. This will maximise the amount of light they’re exposed to. Move them nearer to windows or to the brightest part of the house. This will help them make the most of those shorter daylight hours.

6. Check For Pests

Finally, just because plants are dormant during the winter, it doesn’t mean that pests are too. In fact, many pests like to move indoors to benefit from our nice, warm homes. So, check your plants over thoroughly. This is especially important if you’ve moved plants indoors from your garden to protect them from the frost. You may be unintentionally introducing pests to your houseplants. 


Which houseplant are you struggling with most this winter? Let me know in the comments section below.

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  • Michael

    Hi I have a problem with fungus gnats. There are not masses but I’m trying to keep the soil dry. But also some sticky pads to catch them. Can you recommend anything else. Thanks Michael

    December 6, 2021
  • Rod

    I have two Weeping Figs in 1ltr pots and both are losing their leaves. I only got them 3 weeks ago and I have got them on shelves in brightish rooms, not in direct sun and away from radiators, but they are still losing their leaves. What else can I do. I am so desperate to try and give them a decent chance to survive. I had another Weeping Fig for 7 years and it was brilliant, really tall and bushy. I gave it to my daughter, because it was getting to big for us.

    January 17, 2022

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