5 Tips to Revitalize Houseplants (and Keep Them Alive in Winter)

Posted on Nov 23, 2015 in Nursery, Projects | 11 Comments

It happens every year like clockwork: just before Thanksgiving, your houseplants look a bit droopy. Leaves start turning yellow, and they just look generally unhappy.

This is a hard time of year for your indoor plant friends, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest where our days are particularly short. But not to worry! We have a few tips to help you to get them looking happy and green, and keep houseplants alive through winter.

5 tips to revitalize houseplants and keep houseplants alive in winter

5 Tips to Revitalize and Keep Houseplants Alive in Winter

  1. Cut back the water (and the fertilizer for that matter)
    Yellow leaves? Weird bugs flying around your pot? Moldy soil? These are all symptoms of too much winter watering. All houseplants require less water in winter. Over-watering is always dangerous, but especially so in winter. Make sure you’re not letting your pots stay too wet, and your plants will thank you. Try decreasing cutting the frequency of watering in half, or just water if your plants look thirsty. Oh, and while you’re at it, cut the fertilizer back too. They don’t need it right now, and too much is bad news.
  2. Give your plant a bath
    It’s hard to believe, but all that dust that accumulates on your plant leaves (especially large tropicals) inhibits the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Your plants need all the light they can get this time of year, so next time you water, rinse the entire plant and gently wash with a papertowel if necessary. Pro-tip: Stick all the plants in the bathtub and turn on the shower (gentle pressure)!
  3. Seal up those windows
    Many plants, especially tropicals, are sensitive to cold air. They’ll drop leaves like crazy when it gets drafty! To fix this problem, make sure your windows are sealed and insulated, or that your plants are moved out of the reach of cold drafty areas like windowsills and doorways.
  4. Shine the light
    It’s dark. Your plants need sun. If your windows aren’t cutting it, try replacing incandescent bulbs with full spectrum lights in the nearest fixture. Or, if you’re truly plant obsessed like we are, it’s pretty easy to rig up some grow lights.
  5. Wait on re-potting, but don’t be afraid to prune
    Winter is not the time to re-pot your plant. I know! That new pot you got at the nursery is adorbs, but if you wait until spring to pot your plant up, it will thank you. Root growth is slow this time of year. Soil in big pots stays wet longer. You risk root rot and over-watering if you re-pot now. That said, don’t be afraid to prune back any leaves that turn yellow or brown, or any vines that look “leggy”. You probably won’t see much new growth until spring, but pruning tends to make things look nicer in the meantime.

Follow these tips and your houseplants should look fresh in no time, and be ready for a healthy period of active growth come springtime. Got any of your own tips to keep houseplants alive in winter? Share with us in the comments

11 Comments

  1. Ben
    November 24, 2015

    Thanks for this! I was wondering how I’m going to keep Clifford alive (yes, I did name my plant).

    Reply
    • Jesse
      November 24, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed! Good luck with Clifford. Don’t worry, we name our plants too 🙂
      – Jesse / Pistils Nursery

      Reply
      • Ben
        January 21, 2016

        So far so good for Clifford! I think he’s going to make it!

        Reply
  2. Marissa
    November 25, 2015

    I came for the photo, but stayed for the info! Good post!

    But really! Where did you find that lovely terra cotta pot the snake plant is in (in the center of the photo)?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Jesse
      November 25, 2015

      Hey Marissa,

      Glad you enjoyed! We sell that pot here at our PDX shop. It’s a bit heavy for shipping, unfortunately, but we have some other smaller terra cottas that might work! Feel free to shoot me an email at shop@pistilsnursery.com

      Thanks!
      Jesse – Pistils Nursery

      Reply
  3. Elaine
    January 17, 2016

    can I use the h2o2 recommended for hoyas on my other house plants ? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Jesse
      January 18, 2016

      Hey Elaine,

      Yes! You can use the same H2O2 method with your other house plants as well.

      Happy watering,
      Jesse – Pistils Nursery

      Reply
  4. Elaine
    January 18, 2016

    where will i find my answer to ? re: using h202 on houseplants?

    Reply
  5. Molly Baker
    August 3, 2016

    What is the name of the tall, thorny-looking cactus? I have one, I think. It is from Kenya. How do I care for it?

    Reply
    • Jesse
      August 3, 2016

      That is a Euphorbia species! They like bright light (can be outdoors when temperatures are warm, and can take plenty of direct sun once acclimated). Water infrequently during winter and more during the hot months.

      Hope this helps,
      Jesse

      Reply
  6. John Ferrell
    March 20, 2017

    I didn’t know that houseplants needed less water in winter. Recently I got my wife an indoor plant from a nursery. Maybe I should try to remember this and ask a professional for maintenance tips.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Add an image to your comment (JPEG only)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This