Winter houseplant care

Talking Plants

University of Minnesota, Clay County

Has your houseplant gone from green and vibrant to pale and weak? If you answered yes, all is not lost. With a little attention, you can bring your houseplant back to its green and vibrant condition.
One of the biggest challenges with growing houseplants indoors is to provide them with enough light. Plants need light for photosynthesis, which is the process plants use to manufacture food essential for their survival. Plants that do not receive adequate light develop weak, leggy growth resulting in an unattractive plant and they become more susceptible to insect and disease infestation.
Houseplants that flourished in the spring and summer may need a brighter location. This can be accomplished by moving the plant to a brighter window, closer to the window, or providing supplemental light. If plants are moved closer to a window be sure they are not too close or they could be injured by cold temperatures. Dusty leaves reduce the amount of light a plant receives. Leaves can be cleaned individually by using a soft, damp washcloth or if you are short on time, place the whole plant in the sink or shower to rinse off the foliage.
Houseplant survival is also dependent on regular watering. The challenge is how often to water. Water demands are dependent on several factors such as size and variety of houseplant, type of pot, and potting soil. Environmental conditions such as light, temperature, and humidity also influence water needs. It is not feasible to water on a rigid schedule, instead water houseplants when the soil begins to dry. A general rule of thumb for most houseplants is to water when the top half inch of soil feels dry. Some plants such as African violet need to be watered once the surface of the soil feels dry while most cacti need the soil to dry thoroughly before watering. When it is time to water your plant, soak the soil until water comes out of the drain holes. If a saucer is under the plant, dump out the excess water.
During winter months houseplants generally need little or no fertilizer unless supplemental lighting is provided. If you choose to fertilize, it is recommended to use half the recommended label rate. With proper care this winter your houseplant will be green and vibrant this spring.
University of Minnesota,Clay County 218.299.5020.
Check out our website at https://local.extension.

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