Grooming Your Houseplants for Winter
Now is a good time to give your houseplants a bit of a spa treatment. Take advantage of a warm, sunny day to take your plants outside to give them a nice grooming. It is not necessary to take them outside, it just makes clean up a snap.
- Water the plants thoroughly, so that water is streaming out of the drainage holes. This will flush out any accumulated salts in the soil. Wash off the leaves gently with a soft cloth or paper towel to remove accumulated dust. The plants will look and breathe easier afterwards!
- Add fresh potting soil if needed. Houseplants grow very little during the winter so now is not the time to do any transplanting.
- Trim off any yellow leaves. Leaves often turn yellow if a plant has dried out on occasion. Houseplants generally need less water during the cooler months. Be sure to check the soil for moisture (just stick your finger in the soil about an inch), before watering. The soil should remain moist, not wet.
- Non-blooming houseplants don't require regular fertilizing during the winter. If you want, you can add a slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, in March. Be sure that it is a formulation specifically for houseplants.
- Inspect the foliage for any unwanted guests such as scale or mealybug insects and treat if needed. You can find a handy guide here.
- Bring the plants back inside. (Nighttime temps are too cool now for them to stay outside.) Plants grow towards the light, so houseplants can become a bit lopsided over time. To prevent this and have a nice full plant, turn the plant pot by a quarter turn weekly.
- Make sure that houseplants are positioned away from any heat sources such as ceiling/floor ducts, fireplaces or electric heaters.