When it comes to plants, I am a TOTAL black thumb. Whether it’s roses from Valentine’s Day or succulents that I was assured “definitely can’t die on you,” I can’t seem to keep them alive. So much so that anytime we receive flowers or an indoor plant as a gift, my husband jokes to stay away from them so they have a chance at surviving.
But not this winter. I am DETERMINED to not only keep some houseplants alive, but I want them to THRIVE. Here are what the experts recommended when it comes to keeping your houseplants alive in winter.
What to know about indoor houseplants
Erin Marino, over at The Sill, explained to me that most common houseplants can survive indoors over the winter months and that it’s a matter of caring for them differently in the winter than you would during the spring or summer.
Another fun fact is plants are just like humans in the sense that they get sleepy in the winter. Because of the lack of sunlight in the winter, plants might feel a bit sleepy in the winter which will even send them into a dormant or semi-dormant state. They may even exhibit winter blues, whereas they drop more leaves than usual. According to Erin, this is completely natural.
“They are just compensating for the lack of light, and in turn, the lack of food,” she explains. “They’re just adjusting to the season and should perk back up come spring.”
Tips for keeping your plants alive
So how do we keep these houseplants alive and well? Here are some tips from the experts.
Keep plants close to the window. Erin advises you to make sure your plants are getting plenty of light.
“You might want to move them closer to the window, or give them some supplemental lighting.”
Keep away from any extreme changes in temperature. Erin explains, “Any changes in extreme temperature, like a cold draft from an open window or a heating unit on high, can stress your plants out. Best bet is to keep them away from open windows, front doors, heating units, and radiators.”
Provide humidity. Alessia Resta, plant guru over at @ApartmentBotanist, highly recommends providing your plants with a warm gentle mist.
“Most houseplants can survive without humidity, but most also thrive with it. During the colder winter months, it might be beneficial to you and your plants to provide some moisture.”
Propagate. If you see a plant is struggling, Alessia also recommends propagating your plants.
“Propagating plants is an enjoyable way to multiply your collection and a great way to share your plants with friends,” she offers. “Propagating your plant is also an excellent insurance policy during the winter… it might be a great idea to attempt to save a struggling plant by taking a cutting in the hopes that you can start over with it.”
She shared this total-pro tip: “When you go to make a cutting, take it from the healthy piece of the plant so that you have a better chance for a healthy new plant to grow. Also, different plants propagate in different ways; a quick search can show you how to propagate your specific plant properly.”
Plants need less water in the winter. Did you know that plants only need water based on the amount of light they receive? So since the winter months are full of less sunlight, these light changes will impact how often you will water your plants, which generally speaking, will be less frequent in the winter. Overwatering is the easiest way to kill a plant so be super mindful when you do water them.
Selecting the right indoor plants
Which indoor plants are the best plants to grow in winter? Alessia name drops some plants to help you get started.
“Depending on the type of plant parent you want to be, there are lots of great starter plants that I love recommending to beginner plant parents,” she starts. “Plants like: Sanseveria (Snake Plant); Epipremnum aureum (Pothos or Devil’s Ivy); Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’; Zamioculcas zamiifolia (ZZ plant, Pilea peperomioides); Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen); or Ficus elastica (Rubber Plant).”
“What makes these great starter plants are that they are a bit more forgiving and tolerant than most,” she continues.
Are you ready to become a green thumb this winter? I sure am!