How To Look After Your Plants this Winter
With freezing temperatures, unpleasant weather conditions and reduced levels of sunlight, winter is probably the toughest season of all for your garden. And while your indoor plants might be sheltered from the elements, there are still a few things to consider when taking care of your indoor plants over the winter.
In the garden
Trimming and pruning – Now is the time to carefully prune your vegetables, annual flowers and plants. Next, completely remove any darkened foliage and stems – this will help to stop your garden plants from harbouring diseases they may be susceptible to during winter.
Clearing and tidying – As the temperatures fall, take a look at your plants – you’ll soon notice that many of your summer plants will start to die or go into ‘floral hibernation’. Be sure to remove any debris and cover up more delicate plants with fleece – this will give them a little bit of extra protection from winter frosts on colder days.
Spread a layer of mulch – Frosty weather often means frozen, cracked soil – and this leads to bulbs rising up to the surface of the soil. Focus on spreading mulch, bark or straw leaves onto your general garden soil and bulb beds. This will help to look after the soil, and it will also feed your plants during the spring.
Mow the lawn – It’s best to keep your grass at a medium length over the winter. If you leave it too short, it will have difficulty surviving. And if it’s too long then the frost will leave it hard and brittle. If it’s very cold outside, you might get away without having to mow it until spring, but if it’s mild then you’ll probably need to mow at least once.
Ensure they have access to light – Shorter days and longer nights during winter can mean indoor plants don’t always get enough sunlight. Plants rely on light to grow, so help them to stay healthy by popping them into a position where they will have access to as much light as possible. Make sure the windows are clean to let the maximum amount of light in – and keep them closed to ensure your plants don’t get chilly. Finally, be prepared to move your plants throughout the day, depending on which rooms are the sunniest.
If you live in a particularly dark area, consider investing in an LED grow light. This will give your house plants a little extra energy to keep them thriving over the winter.
Keep them away from heat sources
You might be concerned about your house plants getting too cold, but it’s also important to ensure they don’t get too hot. To avoid drying them out, ensure your plants are kept away from radiators, heaters and fireplaces.
More mist, less watering – At least once a day, give your indoor plants a light mist of water. If you have tropical indoor plants, they’ll probably need misting two or three times every day. It’s best to put tropical plants somewhere humid, too – bathrooms are a good option as they get steamy after you’ve had a hot bath or shower. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to overwater your indoor plants. To check if your plant has enough water, poke your finger a couple of inches into the soil. If it’s still dry, it’s time to get misting.
Remove any dust – Dust particles can block pores on the leaves of indoor plants, making it more difficult for them to ‘breathe’. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe them over to ensure they stay fresh.
Check for pests – Factors such as increased heat from radiators and reduced levels of sunlight can make your plants more attractive to pests. Watch out for mealybugs and spider mites – and if they do appear, quickly take the necessary steps to remove them.
With an extra bit of care here and there, you can make sure your plants stay healthy throughout the winter months and prep your garden for growth during the summer.