Winter is the season where plant dies easily compare to any other seasons like summer and rainy days. Low light, less humidity or dry air, low temperature and shorter days drastically reduces growth of your plants. Plants may die if you are not taking care of them. The secret to help your plants lies in adjusting the care routines according to plant growing season. Let's say creating micro climate around your plant to make it congenial for growth.
In winter usually natural light, temperature, and humidity in your home will be very low. So this condition is not good for any plant to grow. To support the growth of your plants, you need to help your plants. you can bring your plants indoors and follow these measures.
When the availability of natural light is very low in winter, follow the below simple steps to help your plants to harvest more light.
- Move the indoor plants near to window in the day time to harvest more light.
- Clean the window glass for maximum transmission of light inside the home.
- Wash off the dust on plant leaves to make use of the maximum amount of light. You can do this both in indoor & outdoor plants.
- Give a slight turn to your plants everyday so that every stem and leaf gets its turn to receive the sunlight. this also avoid the improper growth (growth of particular stems/branches) of the plant.
- Provide artificial lights to increase the light hours for plants and to support the growth.
Low temperature :
- Avoid placing plants near to the window at night
- You can use the frost-resistant planters for extreme winter days
- You can go for greenhouse conditions for increasing the temperature and to reduce the side effect of low temperature for outdoor plants.
- Do not add much water to your plants in winter. Because their growth will be slow in winter except for a few winter plants.
- Please check the soil wetness up to 1.5 cm depth if it is dry then only water it. In winter many plants need dry soil between watering.
- But it is not always true; some plants need consistent moisture throughout their growing season. If you are in dilemma concerning some plants. You have to research before going ahead.
Air becomes too dry in winters, but plants need certain humidity (moisture %in air) to survive well. misting around the plants helps in maintaining the humidity levels required for the plants.
- Do not apply fertilizers during the winter (except for winter vegetables & flowers) because their growth will be slow during this time. So you can apply fertilizers in the spring when the growth kick starts.
- You can do a pinching or pruning process in the winter to support the bushy growth. In winter the plant system will not be affected by pruning due to low metabolic activities in the winter.
Even though the plants are indoors, pest attack might takes place.
In winters pests reside/hide in different parts of the plant to escape from vision. Observe the plant keenly for any abnormal symptoms like curling of new growth or drying of plant parts.
- Spotting of pests is often a problem in winter. Look at leaf bases, lower side of leaves, and nodes to spot pests.
- Spray neem oil solution to affected plants, yellow sticky traps also works well to trap sap sucking aphids and thrips.
Watering, fertilizer and pesticide application will be same for indoor/outdoor plants. in addition to that some extra care should be taken for outdoor plants.
Winter care for outdoor plants:
If your plants are in soil or in heavy pots it is impossible to move them indoors. Here are some tips to protect them from cool temperatures in winters.
- Cover your plants with any material like plastic covers/containers, cloths, cardboards to protect them at nights from cold temperatures.
- You should do it by tenting.
- Run 3-4 sticks around plant/bush that you want to protect.
- Make holes on materials you use for aeration.
- Now cover the plant by wrapping the material around sticks.
- Make sure you leave some gap (1-2 inch) at the bottom/base of the plant.
- You can cover the seedlings/small plants by inverting any container(pots/cardboards/plastic/glass containers) on them at nights.
- You can also wrap a plastic around your shrubs/bushes by tying it with any string. Or you can also go for protective covers that are readily available.
- If you want to protect more number of plants at once. You can cover them all by making tents on rows.
By this you can protect your plants outdoors. This protective cover can be removed at the day time (if it is opaque/covered tightly), so that plants receive maximum sunlight.
Frequently asked questions
1. Can I add fertilizer to plants in winter?
Usually fertilizers are added to plant in their growing seasons to provide required nutrients for their growth and development. In winters, growth of plants will be low i.e. their metabolism slows down. Adding fertilizers in this time yields nothing instead it may lead to loss of leaves in plants(especially succulents).
2. How should I maintain humidity levels for plants in winter?
You can place the pots in trays filled with water and pebbles to maintains the humidity levels in winters. Or you can just go for misting around your plants.
3. How should I water my plants in winter?
Water them sparingly. As the metabolism rate of the plant slows down, regular activities like transpiration respiration, photosynthesis will be lowered. So plants do not require much water for their survival during winters.
4. Should I bring my plants indoors during winters?
Yes. It is always better if you can move your plants indoors during winters. This avoid the plants being exposed to cold temperatures, by which leaves dry out.
5. Do plants hibernate in winters?
Most of the plants go inactive (low metabolism) in winters, in plants we call it as dormant period. Plants should not get disturbed by over watering/fertilizing at this period. So do not fertilize them and water sparingly during winters.