Winter House Plant Care

Growing conditions for house plants are less than ideal during the winter months. Short days and long nights, low humidity and cold drafts can be stressful on plants. Good consistent care, however, should keep them healthy and attractive.

Here are some ways to keep your house plants looking great through the winter months. First of all, plants need a relative humidity around 40-50 percent. In most homes the relative humidity is only around 10-20 percent. Thus, the best way to increase the humidity is to group your plants together or place the pots on trays of gravel with water added to that tray. Most house plants need supplemental lighting during the short day light like now. This can be accomplished with grow lights or a simple shop light with two florescent bulbs, one cool white and the other at warm white 40 watt tube. This conversion of a shop light to a grow light is rather simple and the cost is somewhere around $35 dollars. One more thing about grow lights, keep them as close to the top of the plant as possible. Make sure you give your house plants enough water. The best way is to water house plants thoroughly and soak them; then discard the excess. Remember in doing this, water needs to drain out of the bottom of the pot. This way you know it has been soaked enough.

Here is something to remember. Ferns prefer an evenly moist soil and should be watered relatively frequently. Cacti and succulents, on the other hand, should not be watered until the potting soil is completely dry. The majority of house plants fall between these two groups. Most house plants should be watered when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch. However, remove the pot only a few times before watering to get a judge as to weather or not the roots, deeper in the pot, have enough moisture. You just might get fooled by just touching the surface of the soil.

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