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How to get Houseplants Winter Ready

Winter is coming. It’s the time of year that tropical plants in the northern hemisphere dread. Winter in the UK means daylight savings time, fewer hours of sunlight, and cold weather. All this can be tough on houseplants and lead to drafty windowsills, cool houses and low humidity.

But try not to panic; winter doesn’t have to be hard on your plants. There are ways that you can keep your houseplants happy and healthy throughout the coldest period. This article will let you know how to prepare your plants for winter by discussing some of the biggest problems and what you can do to counter them. I'll be discussing light, temperature and watering requirements in this article. To help further, I've put together a recommended list of winter plant care essentials on my Amazon storefront, so that you can provide ambient conditions for your houseplants all winter long.


Originally written for Garden Folk Magazine’s October edition, this article has been re-worked for a larger audience. If you’d like more tips about gardening from an assortment of writers, then head on over to Garden Folk’s landing page, where you can read all the current issues.

Central Heating

As it starts to get colder through the winter, many homeowners will start to heat their houses with radiators. This may seem completely harmless to houseplants, but it can actually have a huge effect on them!


Most tropical plants don’t like to be too close to burning-hot air currents and can be badly damaged if they’re positioned too close to a radiator. It’s best to put houseplants at a reasonable distance away from them, especially if you have electric heaters. Plants placed above radiators are at the highest risk because as warm air rises, their leaves can get toasted, resulting in brown crispy edges.


The use of radiators over winter months can also drastically reduce humidity in your home by drying out the air. This makes life very difficult for your favourite houseplants. High-humidity loving plants like peace lilies and calatheas are best placed in rooms that have higher moisture levels during winter. Try moving yours to a bathroom or kitchen if you find that they’re struggling, as these rooms naturally have higher humidity from all the water vapour that lingers.


Intermediate or expert houseplant parents can try adding a humidifier to a room to increase the water in the air. I recommend the Elechomes 6L Ultrasonic humidifier. Place your humidifier away from a radiator for maximum impact!


Over-waterers, beware! As autumn and winter progress, you may find that your houseplants have very different watering needs. Tropical plants tend to grow more slowly in winter, meaning that they need less water. Therefore, it’s best to reduce the amount of water you give your plants, compared to summer and spring.


Check when your houseplants need water by inserting your index finger one inch into the soil and checking the moisture level. If the soil feels wet and your finger looks damp when you remove it, then your plant doesn’t need any more water. You can keep checking in on your houseplants with this method as it will give you an accurate idea of when to water.


Houseplant growth may also slow down during winter months because plants receive less light. Plants that did well in summer may not respond well to shorter days and less sunlight as it prevents them from photosynthesising quite so well. (This is the process that all plants use to create new growth from cells in their leaves.)


Sun rays tend to be less strong in autumn and winter months, so try moving plants closer to windows, to make sure they receive as much light as possible. Placing plants close to north or west facing windows will ensure that they get more light, but don’t get sunburned. Be cautious though, as older windows can be drafty, and some plants don’t like a breeze!


If you’re an intermediate or expert plant parent, then why not invest in a better light source for your houseplants? With some fantastic products on the market, your tropical plants don’t have to struggle through winter with low-light. Most ordinary household light fittings can hold ‘grow bulbs’, which are specially designed to provide the spectrum of light that your houseplants need to thrive.


My favourite grow bulb is the Pianta bulb by Grow Gang. Simply remove your ordinary light bulb from an E27 fitting and replace with a grow bulb to provide ample light to your plants. Turn these lights on daily for up to 12 hours to boost the light your plant receives and encourage it to photosynthesise. You’ll have luscious new growth in no time!

Now you have everything you need to get your houseplants winter ready – no excuses! Tag me on Instagram @theplantparlourgram, so I can see how you put these tips into action. If you need any additional winter plant care essentials then head on over to my Amazon storefront where I've linked some of my favourite products. I want to see how your favourite tropical plants fair in cooler climates!



Hi, thanks for dropping in to read The Plant Papers!

I'm Gemma and I'm the person behind The Plant Parlour. I have a huge collection of rare plants, that I keep in my home in the South of England.

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