How to Adjust Houseplant Care in Winter

Just as our routines change in the winter, so do the needs of our houseplants. Maybe you brought in your tropicals after having them outside for the summer, or perhaps indoors is where your houseplants always call home. Whatever the case, here are some tips to make sure they have all they need to perform their very best this winter.


person watering houseplants summerwinds arizona

Adjust Watering

Plants grow more slowly or even go dormant in the winter months. This means they’ll require less water than they do in the summer.

To avoid watering your plants too much—or too little—check the soil by poking it with your finger. A general guideline is when you feel that the soil is dry an inch or two below the surface, it’s time to water your plant. Another way to check to see if your plant needs water is with a moisture meter. Simply insert it in the soil and the meter will let you know if the soil is dry, moist or wet.

Since watering requirements vary between houseplants, ask us if you’re not sure about their needs. For example, some succulents go dormant in winter, meaning they’ll need very little water.

When it’s time to water your plants, use room-temperature water; otherwise, you risk shocking your plants.

humidifier for houseplants summerwinds arizona

Consider Room Temperature and Humidity

Houseplants perform best when the temperature is between 65º and 75º F. Protect plants from cool drafts by keeping them away from drafty or cold windows and doorways. It’s also important not to place plants too close to a vent or heater since they could experience poor circulation or dryness.

During the winter (and summer too), humidity can be low in homes, which affects houseplants. If you have a humidifier, that will help not only you but also your plants, as long as they are near it.

You can also group houseplants together. Plants give off moisture, and when you cluster them together, they can maintain humidity in the surrounding air. Another way to make sure the humidity levels are adequate is by placing plant pots on a pebble tray, which is a shallow dish with water and pebbles or gravel.

houseplants in modern concrete pots in window summerwinds arizona

Place in Sunny Areas

Even in winter, it’s still pretty sunny in Arizona, but where light hits may change a bit, so move your plants around if necessary to ensure they are getting adequate light. Some plants can grow in low-light areas, so even if a room doesn’t get much sunlight, you can still have houseplants like the ZZ Plant or Cast Iron Plant there.

It’s also a good idea to rotate your houseplants about a quarter turn each week so that they grow evenly.

Cut Back on Fertilizer

Just like how houseplants require less water in the winter since they’re not growing as fast, they also require less fertilizer. Avoid water-soluble fertilizers, since that would require you to water the plant too much. Instead, choose a time-release fertilizer like Osmocote Plus, which releases into the soil each time you water the plant and can feed your houseplant for up to six months.

diseased houseplant with wilted leaves summerwinds arizona

Watch for Pests

If you’re bringing in plants from outside, inspect them well for any pests which could spread to other houseplants. To make sure no bugs are hitching a ride inside, spray the plants with insecticidal soap first before you bring them to their indoor home for the winter.

Even houseplants that have never been outside are at risk for pests, so check all plants regularly, including the underside of leaves and soil, where you may see pests hiding.

happy couple in living room with houseplants summerwinds arizona

Insecticidal soap or plant oil extracts can be used to get rid of a number of pests, but let us know if you’re having problems with a particular bug, and we’ll help you figure out the best plan of attack!

Being surrounded by plants can help improve your mood, so it’s no wonder if you want an indoor tropical jungle. To keep all those lush plants looking their best all winter long, it’s important to adjust to their changing needs.

Click here, to learn more about the pottery, accessories, soils and fertilizers that we have for houseplants.


About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.