How to look after houseplants this winter – the ultimate guide

Local plant store Three Little Leaves share their top tips - plus recommend some hardier plants ideal for the colder months
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There’s no doubt about it, winter is here, whether we like it or not.

And while we adapt to the cold by adding layers, we need to make sure our plants are ready to face the change in season, too.

Kat Reynolds, who lives in the Cheshire village of Lymm and recently launched houseplant business Three Little Leaves, has a few pieces of advice if you’re struggling to look after your plants as the temperatures drop.

“Plants need time to rest after a period of growth, and if you continue to feed them regularly, they will try to keep growing which can put them under strain,” she explains.

Her tip? Cut back on the fertiliser for the next few months.

And as we see the amount of available light lessen, you need to move your plants closer to it to benefit from it. 

“While they would have struggled by a south facing window in summer, with the strength of the sun less so, now is the time to move them next to it,” Kat suggests.

“If you don’t have enough windows for all your plants, it’s worth investing in a few grow lights – there are some relatively inexpensive ones available on Amazon.”

But before moving any, check how much light they need, she suggests, as some will be more tolerant of shade than others.

Speaking of light, the dust that accumulates on leaves can stop them from photosynthesising as efficiently, says Kat. A wipe down of their leaves with a damp cloth can help.

And plants aren’t big fans in large fluctuations in temperature, either – so avoid areas where they may feel a draught or too close to a radiator or fireplace.

While we need to put the heating on as the temperature outside drops, it can create an ideal environment for pests. Check your plants regularly, on both sides of their leaves.

Plants need less watering over the winter months, too, says Kat – and there may be some plants such as Cacti that need hardly any water during this season. 

“Even if the surface of the soil feels dry, stick your finger a few inches down and see whether it’s wet or dry there,” suggests Kat. 

“If it does need a drink, use room temperature water. 

“When you do water them, make sure to rotate them when you put them back in place, so that all sides get their time in the sun.”

And finally, having the heating on takes a lot of the moisture out of the air, so you can help your plants by putting some back in. 

“There are a few ways you can do this,” suggests Kat.

“One is a humidifier – there are lots of different types, some more expensive than others. 

“Or you could add a pebble tray, filled with water and put the pot on top of it – just make sure the plant isn’t sitting in water.

Top winter plants

If you’re looking to buy some plants to green your house over the winter months, or for a unique Christmas present, here are some of the hardiest plants you can get from Three Little Leaves.

Aloe

It needs bright light so would need to be near a window but is fine with dry conditions so no need to worry about pebble trays or humidifiers.

Snake Plant/Sansevieria

The hardiest of plants, this plant will be fine in lower light and doesn’t need humidity to get through the winter.

Cactus

They need very little water if any through the winter and are happy in dry conditions.

Rubber Plants

Ficus Robusta/Tineke/Belize – these will be fine in medium light conditions.

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Once it’s adjusted to its new environment, your Fiddle Leaf Fig will be able to cope in its new home – it does like warmth and some light.

Begonia Maculata

While they do need some light, they aren’t as reliant on it as some of their other tropical friends.

For more information on Three Little Leaves, or to place an order, click the button below.

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