Should You Feed Houseplants In Winter

Although it may seem contradictory, the majority of indoor plants require less water in the winter. Despite the fact that winter air is dryer, plants develop more slowly and some even fall into complete dormancy during the colder months. As a result, plants require less water to maintain their hydration, and overwatering can cause root rot. Remember that different plants require varied amounts of water. Drought-tolerant cacti and other succulents may not require any watering, whilst certain tropical plants may still need more frequent watering.

Winter months can cause surface soil to dry up more quickly, but it isn’t necessarily a sign that the plant needs water. When the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface, test it with your finger; if it is, it’s time to get the watering can out.


Do not water your houseplants with cold water. To prevent shocking the roots of the plant, use water that is close to room temperature. In some winter climates, tap water can become very chilly; thus, wait several hours before using it to water your plants. This kind of gradual warming also enables dissolved gases, such chlorine, to evaportate from the water.

Alter Humidity Levels

The largest challenge that indoor plants face throughout the winter months is often low humidity levels. Plants like a humidity level that is closer to 50%, which might drop to 10 to 20% in heated homes during the winter. If your home has a humidifier, move your plants there so they can benefit from it. If you don’t have a humidifier, find another way to increase the humidity.

Organize your plants first into groupings. Plants naturally release water through their leaves through transpiration, thus combining them will make good use of that moisture. Because they absorb moisture from showers and cooking, bathrooms and kitchens are the greatest places to keep plants.

The age-old method of putting your plants on or close to a tray of water is another excellent choice. But avoid letting the plants submerge themselves in the water. Put stones or pebbles in the tray to elevate the pots’ bottoms above the water line, then set the pots on top of the stones. By doing this, humidity levels will rise without encouraging root rot.

Instead than helping the plants, misting usually works better at making the gardener feel good about themselves. You might believe that spraying your plants will provide them with some comfort, however misting just provides a brief burst of moisture. Because indoor temperatures allow moisture to evaporate quickly, misting is necessary several times a day to be effective. Try misting if you only have a few plants and believe you will be really diligent about it. An indoor plant may rarely be over-mist. Misting plants in humid summers can result in fungal issues, but this shouldn’t be a concern in the winter.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Like most people, most plants thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Keep your plants away from heat sources like radiators, ovens, fireplaces, and electronics in order to give them that, as well as from chilly drafts. Houseplants can die from temperature changes just as quickly as from extended exposure to heat or cold.

Follow the Sun

In addition to having fewer daylight hours, wintertime sunlight also comes in at a lower angle. Your houseplants might need to be moved to a brighter location or even given more light. An all-day sunny window with a south or west orientation is an ideal location. Moving plants next to a chilly window, however, should be avoided since they might experience a draft.

Every time you water your plants, rotate the pots by roughly a quarter of a turn. This prevents some branches from reaching for the light, allowing the plant to grow evenly and receive some sun on all sides.

The amount of light that reaches plant leaves can also be diminished by layers of dust. This dust can be removed from leaves with a moist cloth, giving plants more access to light during the winter.

Plants will need to be exposed to the grow lights for extended periods of time in regions where the winter sun is essentially nonexistent and where the majority of their light comes from supplemental lighting. If a plant needs six hours of direct sunshine, it can also require an additional 12 or 14 hours of light to provide the same amount of energy. Grow lights are far less strong than sunlight, thus plants require more time under them to absorb enough energy.

Put Your Houseplants on a Diet

Because they are not growing as quickly in the winter, the majority of houseplants don’t require any fertilizer. Stop feeding them until early spring as continuing to do so would only disrupt their natural cycle. Resuming fertilization will give them a boost for the growing season if you start to notice new growth or the present leaves seem to be turning greener.

Some tropical plants grow rather actively all winter long, especially vining climbers or trailers, and they may still need some feeding, but often at decreased rates.

How can indoor plants survive the winter?

Every year, exactly before Thanksgiving, your houseplants start to look a little run down. As the leaves begin to turn yellow, they appear to be sad in general.

Your indoor plant pals are having a difficult time right now, especially if you reside in the Pacific Northwest where the days are so short. However, don’t worry! We have some advice to help you maintain indoor plants alive throughout the winter and get them to look healthy and green.

Tips to Revitalize and Keep Houseplants Alive in Winter

  • Reduce the water flow (and the fertilizer for that matter) crimson leaves? Strange insects buzzing around your pot? moldy ground? All of them are signs of excessive winter irrigation. In the winter, indoor plants all need less water. Winter is a particularly risky time to overwater. Your plants will appreciate it if you take care not to leave your pots too damp. Try halving the frequency of watering, or just water your plants when they appear to be thirsty. Oh, and reduce the fertilizer use as well while you’re at it. Right now, they don’t require it, and having too much is bad news.
  • Cleanse your plant. It’s hard to believe, but the excessive dust that gathers on the leaves of your plants, especially the giant tropicals, prevents the plant from photosynthesizing. The following time you water, make sure to rinse the entire plant and, if necessary, gently wipe it off with a paper towel. Your plants need all the light they can get right now. Pro-tip: Fill the bathtub with plants and turn on the gentle pressure in the shower.
  • Close those windows. Many plants are vulnerable to cold air, especially tropical ones. When it’s chilly out, they’ll start dropping leaves like crazy! To solve this issue, either relocate your plants out of the reach of cold drafty areas like windowsills and doors, or make sure your windows are sealed and insulated.
  • Put the light on. It is dark. Plants require sunlight. If your windows aren’t providing enough light, consider replacing the incandescent bulbs in the closest fixture with full spectrum lights. Or, it’s really simple to set up some grow lights if you’re as passionate about plants as we are.
  • Repotting should be delayed, but don’t be scared to prune Repotting your plant should not be done in the winter. I know! Even if the nursery’s new pot is adorable, your plant will appreciate it more if you wait until spring to put it up. Now is a quiet time of year for root growth. Large pots’ soil retains moisture longer. If you repot now, you run the risk of overwatering and root rot. Having said that, don’t be afraid to remove any leaves that start to turn brown or yellow as well as any vines that appear “leggy.” Although new growth won’t likely appear until spring, pruning usually improves the appearance of the environment in the interim.

If you follow these suggestions, your houseplants will soon look vibrant and prepared for a robust period of active development come spring. Do you have any advice on how to keep indoor plants alive during the winter? Let us know in the comments.

How frequently should indoor plants be fertilized in the winter?

When indoor plants are actively growing in the spring and summer, fertilize them. Use a fertilizer that is complete and contains potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Fertilizers for indoor plants can be found in liquid, crystal, granular, spike, and tablet form. Depending on the product, application frequency might range from once every two weeks to once every three to four months. Read the directions on the label attentively.

During the winter, avoid fertilizing indoor plants. Winter is when most indoor plants do not grow vigorously and do not require fertilization.

In the winter, do plants require plant food?

Many plants relax throughout the winter. Lights are essential to plants, and since there is less sunlight in the fall and winter than there is in the summer, most plants develop less vigorously. Plants require less fertilizer when they are semi-dormant. Most foliage plants can endure four months without feeding (November to March).

Why don’t you feed plants during the winter?

In the colder months, light levels are reduced, which means that houseplants will naturally grow more slowly and require less water and food as a result.

They don’t require additional nutrients if they aren’t expending as much energy. Anything you give them will therefore probably end up in the ground where it will eventually burn its roots and kill the plant.

Why are my houseplants deteriorating in the winter?

The easiest time of year to kill a houseplant is definitely during the winter. Houseplants are put to the test by harsh growing conditions like low light levels, dry air, shorter days, and frigid temperatures.

Making care routine adjustments to accommodate seasonal growing circumstances is the key to ensuring that plants survive the winter. Review the fundamentals to provide your indoor plants with the best care during winter.

Winter causes the sun to set later in the day, which results in a 50% reduction in light levels near windows. During the winter, indoor plants that thrive near a sunny eastern or northern window during the summer may require a southern or western exposure. Similarly, plants near windows in the west or south that require filtered light in the summer might be able to endure direct sunlight in the winter.

To aid plants in adjusting to shifting light conditions:

  • If it’s possible, move plants nearer to the windows.
  • Window cleaning will maximize light transmission.
  • For the winter, move plants to new areas next to windows with more light.
  • Cleanse plants to allow leaves to utilize the light that is available to the fullest.
  • Add synthetic lighting. Fluorescent lights are sufficient. They generate less heat and are less expensive than conventional grow lights. For best results, place bulbs 4–12 inches away from plants.

Tropical plants, which make up the majority of indoor plants, like daytime temperatures of 65 to 75 F and nighttime temperatures of around 10 F lower. Low temperatures (below 50F) can be problematic for many plants.

In order to make the thermostats more comfortable for you, keep in mind that your plants also require some thought.

  • Keep plants away from heat sources and cold gusts.
  • Maintain a few inches of space between plants and external windows.
  • Plants should be moved away from windows at nightfall in cold climates if windows freeze over at night. Additionally, you may tuck a thick shade or another insulating item between the plants and the glass.

In the cold, homes might only provide 5–10% relative humidity. Houseplants prefer 40–50%. Brown leaf tips and the presence of pests like Spider Mites are indicators that plants are being stressed by low humidity. Learn how to increase the humidity around plants in simple methods.

Overwatering is the most frequent issue that indoor plants encounter throughout the winter. 95% of indoor plants require the soil to almost totally dry out before watering. How do you determine whether plants need water?

  • Don’t only test a small area of the soil’s surface. When the root zone is dry, plants require moisture. Insert your finger up to two inches into the ground. Water the soil if it’s dry.
  • Pick up the pot. When soil gets dry, it becomes lighter. Lift pots right away after watering to feel the texture of the moist soil.
  • Plants won’t need water as frequently if winterized rooms are humidified. Water must be added to dry air.
  • The only exceptions to this rule are citrus and ferns in pots, both of which require continually moist soil. If you are uncertain, always do your research.

Never let plants sit in water that gathers in the drainage saucer overnight when you water.

Fertilize plants all winter long in mild climates. Winter fertilization of indoor plants is not recommended in the coldest climates with little natural light. When springtime outside plants begin to grow, fertilizer can be resumed.

In the spring and summer, when most indoor plants are actively growing, is the ideal time to repot them. Potted woody plants that entirely hibernate in the winter are the exception. Transplant those in the early spring before the buds break.

  • Numerous advantages of houseplants include bettering indoor air quality and lowering sickness rates.

Cut back on the frequency of watering.

The soil won’t be drying out as quickly unless you maintain a sauna-like temperature inside your house. As a result, the roots won’t require as much water now.

I water my houseplants usually every seven days because I reside in Tucson, which is hot and dry for five months out of the year. I reduce the frequency to once every 1021 days throughout the winter.

The sort of plants you have, the size and composition of the pots, the humidity level, and how warm or chilly your home are all factors that will affect how frequently you water yours.

Decrease the amount of water.

I water my indoor plants about 25% less throughout the winter. In the summer, I use a larger watering can, and in the winter, I use a smaller one. This stops me from suffocating the plants.

This keeps the soil from becoming too wet near the bottom of the pot, where the majority of the roots are, where I have quite a few large floor plants with a lot of soil mass.

Don’t let too much water collect in the saucer.

You don’t need to completely submerge the grow pot’s bottom in water; a small amount of trickling out onto the saucer is acceptable. Doing so will eventually cause the roots to decay.

It’s good if it rests on pebble or rock layers; more on that under “Humidity.”

When should I stop feeding my houseplants fertilizer?

As a general rule, only fertilize indoor plants when they are actively growing. While they are dormant, feeding them might cause their foliage to burn or even result in their death.

Don’t overfertilize your plants. Follow the instructions on the product you’re using because using too much can be just as bad as using too little. You should halve the concentration of liquid fertilizers if you want to be safe.