Winter Care Tips for Plants
Quite often, window plants that looked good in summer are stunted and spindly in winter; their leaves turn yellow and fall off. The reason is that growing conditions have become less favorable for them. In winter there is less sunlight, the air in the room becomes drier because of the central heating, and the soil in flowerpots becomes drier more quickly.
Watering -- Plants require less water during the winter months; you should allow your plants to rest and go dormant during this time. Watering should be decreased. Water only when it is necessary. At the same time soil in flowerpots should be loosened to let air reach the roots (this is called “dry watering”).
Plants requiring no watering in winter. Desert cactuses and succulents are not watered in winter. In the active growth period –- from spring to autumn -- they need medium watering.
Plants requiring medium watering. Practically all ornamental-leaved plants are included in this group. Increased watering from spring until autumn and less watering in winter when the upper layer of soil (1 cm) becomes dry. The soil surface should be dry between watering
and water only when necessary during the rest period, from the end of autumn until the middle of spring.
Plants requiring wet soil. The majority of flowering plants are in this group. Soil should be wet, but not overly wet. Watering should occur when the surface is dry, but be careful not to over water and only give the plant enough water so that the soil is not always overly wet.
Plants requiring over-wet soil. Such plants are watered often so that the soil is not just wet, but over wet. These include azalea, sweet flag and cyperus.
Lighting -- It is better to place plants close to a window and to provide extra lighting by artificial light.
Additional fertilizing -- It is recommended from November to February; its maximum is half the normal dose. Plants are fertilized only once a month and the amount of fertilizer should be decreased.
Cleaning -– Removing faded leaves and dead flowers is not just a cosmetic procedure, it also prevents disease. Dust should be removed from leaves regularly. Small plants can be washed in the shower. Large, smooth leaves can be sponged.
Do Not Freeze -- While airing the room, move the plants away from any drafts if it is cold outside.
Almost all window plants grow well when the temperature is 13-23 C, and the majority will bloom at temperatures which are cooler. There is, however, an exception –- a lot of popular flowering window plants and some ornamental-leaved plants require even lower temperatures during the winter (16 ?). Delicate plants need temperature above 16 ?. To help keep them warm, you may place them on a tray lined with pebbles in a warm place.
A lot of plants are undemanding and can handle temperatures lower or higher than usual for some time. But extreme variations in temperature are dangerous. As a rule, plants prefer night temperature to be 2-3 ? lower than daytime temperature but sudden drops in temperature can harm or even kill the plant. The temperatures should not drop abruptly, especially during winter nights -- it is recommended to keep your plants away from window sills when it is below freezing outside. An exception to this rule is cactuses and other succulents: their natural habitat is high daytime temperatures and cooler nights, the temperature drops in houses or apartments will not be dangerous to them.
Do Not Overdry -- Dead heading is recommended to all the plants with spineless leaves. Place plants in groups far from the central heating system. To increase air humidity around the plant, place the plant inside an ornamental flowerpot 5 cm wider the pot itself. Put a layer of haydite on the bottom (3-5 cm) and put the pot in it. Water as usual and leave a bit of water under the haydite so that the water does not touch the pot bottom. The water will evaporate, and the humidity will rise. You may also want to place bowls filled with water in the room.
Ideal humidity for tropical plants is 70-90 percent. Humidity suitable
for growing plants in apartments is 65-70 percent. The most difficult
plants to keep at home are the following: akalifa, alokasia,
pineapple, anturium, asplenium, ahimenes, brunfelsia, vriesia, dieffenbachia,
jakaranda, zebrine, kaladium, kalatea, kodieum, kolumnea, maranta, monstera,
nefrolepis, passiflora, peper, pilea, pteris, African violet, philodendron and the majority of orchids. These plants grow the best when humidity is not lower than 60 percent.
Transplantation –- The end of winter and beginning of spring is the best time to transplant window plants. They begin to grow when daylight hours become longer. New roots appear and the plant
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