How to care for potted plants in winter

Potted plants need special care in winter

Potted plants need special care in winter

When winter arrives, our potted plants may need protection, especially if they are exotic and / or sensitive to cold and there are frosts in our area. And it is that although we have them indoors, it is best to keep them in a room whose minimum temperature is 10ºC naturally, without having the heating turned on, since otherwise their leaves could fall before their time.

Therefore, we believe it is important that you know how to care for potted plants in winterbecause the care they have to receive is not the same as the one we give them in summer. And in addition, the risk of rot is much higher.

Indoor plant care in winter

Indoor plants need protection

Indoor plants need protection

Indoor plants are generally exotic plants native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They need mild or slightly high temperatures, between 10 and 30ºC, and a high humidity, above 50%.. Inside the house the temperature is usually right for them, but humidity is another story.

If you live like me on an island or near the coast, you don’t have to worry about that. But what if you live further inland? In these places, as the sea is very far away, the environments are usually dry or very dry, which is why the tips of the leaves turn brown and eventually fall. Then, How do you take care of them?

Light, humidity and without drafts

The secret for indoor plants to survive the winter is to bring them to a room with plenty of natural light, high humidity and where there are no drafts.

  • Light and Shade: they need it to carry out photosynthesis, and therefore to grow. But be careful: do not put them in front of a window facing east or west, as it could burn when the sun rises or sets each day. It is best if it is on one side of it, or below the frame.
  • High ambient humidity: It is essential to keep the leaves hydrated. To know if it is high or low, you can check it for example with a domestic weather station. In the event that it is low, that is, less than 50%, we recommend placing containers with water around it or a humidifier.
  • No draftsThis means that they should be placed away from doors, windows that remain open all day, and narrow hallways.

Irrigation yes, but in moderation

Peperomia obtusifolia is a delicate plantLa Peperomia obtusifolia is one delicate plant

Image – Wikimedia / James Steakley

Winter is a cold season, so tropical and subtropical plants just stop growing, or they do so very, very slowly. What’s more, as they are indoors, the earth stays wet longer. Therefore, the frequency of irrigation changes.

We are not going to tell you exactly how often you have to water them, because it will depend a lot on the environmental humidity in your home and the climate, but it does We recommend using a soil moisture meter as this to know when to do it.

In winter I water them once every two weeks, as the humidity remains above 60% and the temperatures between 10 and 15ºC; but it may be that you have to water more, or less, frequently.

Use warm waterThat is at around 20-30ºC, since this way there is no risk of the roots catching cold. And don’t forget to drain the plate (or the pot) after each watering.

Do not fertilize or transplants (except for exceptions)

Indoor plants, as they hardly grow in winter, do not need an extra supply of fertilizer beyond what they can have in the substrate. But the truth is that if the temperatures stay above 10ºC, it is very interesting to pay themsince this way we will get them to arrive stronger in spring. Of course, they will only be paid if they are completely healthy, and always using fertilizers or liquid fertilizers, such as this guano or for green plants, following the instructions on the container.

Regarding the transplant, it should not be done either, unless the temperatures are high and / or it has been watered too much. In the latter case, they would be transplanted urgently, being very careful not to over manipulate the roots, removing those with white or gray mold, and then applying a systemic fungicide spray.

Caring for outdoor potted plants in winter

Potted plants must be watered

Potted plants must be watered

The potted plants that we have outdoors, whether on patios, terraces and / or balconies, must be able to withstand the environmental conditions that winter will put on them. But we can help them a little so that they can endure better:

Protect the most delicate ones in a greenhouse or with anti-frost fabric

Also those that you have recently acquired that have been indoors. Experiments are all very well, but only if they are done with common sense. If you leave a plant that has been very protected and pampered without any type of protection and there is, for example, a -4ºC frost, although its genetics allow it to resist up to -10ºC, it will suffer as it is not acclimatized.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, don’t worry. The anti-frost fabricAs this, will fulfill the same function by protecting them from low temperatures, wind, hail and snow.

Group the plants

Put the largest ones behind so that the smaller ones do not lack light. With this, it is possible to protect them enough from the wind, which can be more treacherous even than a frost. What’s more, you can take advantage and create a kind of windbreak hedge with those that are larger; This will create a potted garden that will also look pretty.

Put them near places that absorb heat

Like plastic or steel. If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to put them in places like this, since as they absorb it, they will also irradiate it, thus increasing the temperature in their vicinity a little.. It is true that this increase may be minimal, but for plants, it is not the same to be at, for example, 5 degrees than at 5.5. Any change, no matter how small, can be the difference between surviving the winter without problems, or surviving with damage.

Don’t water if it’s going to rain

Even if the land is very dry, you should not water if it is going to rain. We must make the most of rainwater, not only because water is a scarce commodity, but because it is the best that plants can receive.. Also, keep in mind that it is much easier to recover a plant that is going thirsty, than another that, on the contrary, is drowning: in the first case, you only have to put the pot in a basin of water for a few minutes; In the second, you have to extract it from the pot, remove the dead roots (black with gray or white mold), let the soil dry, plant it in a new pot with new growing medium, and apply a multipurpose fungicide such as this, and even so it is not always achieved.

Irrigation water can be acidified easilyIrrigation water can be easily acidified

Related article:

What are the symptoms of lack or excess irrigation?

When you water, do it at noon or in the afternoon

There is to water the potted plants

You have to water potted plants

If in summer it must be watered in the late afternoon to prevent the water from being lost due to evaporation, in winter it can be done at noon as the degree of insolation is much lower, and therefore, the earth remains humid for longer. . Likewise, it can also be done in the afternoon without problem. The only thing is that care should be taken not to wet the plantsSince the water will be cool or cold and its leaves could suffer, or even burn if the sun hits them at that time.

The frequency of irrigation will vary depending on the weather and the rains. So that there are no problems, it is preferable to use a moisture meter such as this, as it will serve as a guide. But, in general, in temperate regions you have to water little, once a week or even less. Do not put a plate under them, and less if there is frost, so that the roots do not get cold more than necessary.

All in all, we hope that these tips will help you so that your potted plants can reach spring healthy.

How to care for potted plants in winter

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