The cold, grey winter months can take their toll on the best of us – but it’s a particularly hard time for our leafy friends from the tropics: indoor plants.
Originating from climates offering year-round humidity and plenty of bright light, winter can be a shock to the system for some plants. Here are some tips to avoid mass casualties when the weather gets chilly.
Change it up
In winter the sun sits lower in the sky, which means spaces inside the home normally flooded with light in summer and spring become a lot darker. It's a good time to reposition indoor greens to make sure their light and temperature needs are still being met.
This might mean moving some plants closer to windows, or even sitting them up off the ground. Plant stands can give versatility to plant positioning and add a bit of extra height, helping them to grab that precious winter light.
Winter tends to be a dormant period for many indoor plants, and their water requirements change. As a general rule plants will require less water in winter because of lower light and temperatures. Check in with your foliaged friends to make sure the soil has had enough time to dry out before giving them another drink. Also make sure they have adequate drainage, so they're not sitting in a puddle of water.
On the flip side, heaters can suck a lot of moisture from the air, which is damaging for our humidity-loving tropicals. Keep plants well away from heaters and spritz leaves with a mister from time to time to help maintain moisture.
As a general rule winter is not the time to be re-potting indoor plants – save that for spring. Double potting allows you to dress them up in beautiful pots without adding any stress to the plant. Fabric pot plant covers are a great option for sprucing up your foliage.
Facing harsher conditions than usual, our indoor pals can fall prey to pests and disease. It’s much easier to nip these nasties in the bud if you check in regularly with your plants. Wipe down foliage with a damp cloth to avoid dust build up, and spray leaves with white oil to make them too slippery for any leaf-sucking pests such as spider mites. Be sure to remove dead leaves on a regular basis and quarantine any really sick plants to avoid issues spreading to the healthy guys.
Leaf Supply is currently exhibiting at Wedge Gallery, Kinokuniya Sydney, to celebrate the launch of its self-titled book.
This article was updated on June 25, 2018.