Every spring, when the weather gets above freezing at night, I move my houseplants outside to get fresh air and rain water. My houseplants thrive outside in the spring, summer, and fall months, but come colder temperatures when it is time to move them back inside, they don’t fare as well. This move back inside is just as traumatic for houseplants as the cold is if you would leave them outside, so it is important to gradually ease them back inside and then provide them with loving care through the winter months to keep them growing healthy.
When the temperature dips near the freezing mark at night, I prepare my plants to bring them inside. I don’t want to shock them with a quick change in temperature, so I ease them back into the house by first setting them inside my garage for a day or two. The subtle change in temperature from outside to the garage is just enough of a change to help prevent a lot of shock from occurring. Although there is always some shock when bringing a houseplant inside the first time for the winter months, it won’t be as bad. During their stay in the garage, I will remove any spiders or other insects, spider eggs, cobwebs, and dead or wilted leaves.
When you finally move your houseplants inside the house, make sure they are in a warm place and get their required daily amount of sunlight. Let the houseplants adjust for a week before doing anything to them other than watering them.
After one week, loosen the soil around the roots in their pots with a small hand spade and add some plant food and/or fertilizer sparingly. With a warm, wet paper towel, wipe off any dirt or dust on the leaves and stems. Just like people, plants have pores that can become clogged with dirt, so it is important to keep the leaves clean to promote a good healthy plant. The rain provided this cleaning process when your houseplants were outside.
Even with this care, about one to one and half months into the winter months, your plants will start to look sad and tired. They may have leaves that start to turn brown, wilt, and even fall off. This is the time your houseplants need a real pick-me-up.
Nothing perks up a plant like a nice spring rain, but you’re not going to get that in the winter months. The next best thing to this is to put your plants in the shower. Yes, the shower. Just set your houseplants in the shower, turn it on a gentle stream of lukewarm water and let it “rain” on them for about 10 to 15 minutes. I usually do this in the morning and then let them sit in there until the pots are almost dry on the sides and bottoms. I then shake off the excess water from the plants, dry the pots and put them back on their stands. I will do this about every three to four weeks during the winter months.
About half way through winter is when I like to really give my houseplants the royal treatment. I will re-pot them, clean and trim their roots, give them new potting soil, add growth hormone treatments, if needed, and give them more plant food and fertilizer. At this time I will also thoroughly clean and sterilize my plant pots.
Not only does providing plant care to my houseplants in the winter months keeps them healthy, but it is also enough to get me through the long winter months of not being able to work in my garden.