Posted on Dec 8, 2023 at 10:02 am by James T
Winter is approaching and it is time to think about protecting your indoor plants and those that are sensitive to the cold. We will go through the different steps and tips to help you succeed in this essential transition for the health and beauty of your plants. Take note and be ready to act when the time comes.
Table of Contents
How to succeed in wintering:
- Adapt your watering: Most plants need less water in winter; carefully monitor the condition of the substrate and signs of dryness before watering.
- Maintain high humidity: Tropical plants appreciate a humid atmosphere; you can spray a little water on their foliage or place bowls filled with moistened clay balls under their pots.
- Prune and clean: Take advantage of this wintering time to prune dead or bulky branches, and clean the foliage with a soft cloth to remove dust and facilitate light absorption.
Plants sensitive to frost: identifying the species involved
- Non-hardy plants: They are not able to withstand the climatic characteristics of our regions, especially cold temperatures and sometimes humidity.
- Indoor plants: Usually well adapted to the bright and warm conditions of tropical forests where they find a UV-rich light spectrum, they can suffer in our interiors if they are poorly lit and not sunny enough.
- Orangery plants: Originating from oceanic climates, they can withstand winter if frosts are rare and do not drop below -5°C (23°F).
When is the right time to bring in your plants?
There is no absolute rule, as each plant has its own needs and cold tolerances, but here are some simple guidelines to keep in mind:
- Nocturnal temperatures: Sensitive plants can stay outside as long as the average nighttime temperature does not drop below 5°C (41°F). Monitor the weather forecast and act accordingly.
- Autumn rains: Make sure that water does not saturate the substrate of your plants, especially those grown in water reservoir containers. Bring them inside before the heating is turned on to avoid damaging thermal shock.
Where to place your plants during winter? Solutions adapted to each species
For indoor and non-hardy plants
Ideally, you should find them a bright, warm (between 18 and 20°C / 64-68°F), and draft-free location.
A well-exposed windowsill can be a good option, as well as a heated conservatory or even an indoor greenhouse dedicated to tropical plants if you have the opportunity. Similarly, make sure to take care of your balcony plants in winter to ensure their well-being throughout the cold season.
For orangery plants
It is best to overwinter them in a cold room with temperatures ranging from 5 to 10°C (41-50°F), without freezing. Unheated conservatories, garages, and sheds can often provide these ideal conditions. Natural light exposure is also important to prevent plants from weakening and stretching too much during this period.
Sharing is caring! Help us provide quality content for free.
Nyctiperiodic plants: a special case to handle with care
These are plants that bloom when the days are short, such as Poinsettia (or Christmas Star), Clivia, or Christmas cacti. To succeed in their winter flowering, they need a certain amount of darkness hours (more than 12 hours) and a moderate temperature (18-20°C / 64-68°F) for 6 to 8 weeks.
The secret to success lies in finding the right balance between light and darkness, controlled watering, and stable temperature. For example, you can place them in a less frequented room during the day and cover them with an opaque veil in the evening to ensure a complete night of rest.
By adopting these practical and species-specific suggestions, your frost-sensitive plants will go through winter in the best possible conditions and will be ready to thrive again when the sunny days return.