How to take care of indoor plants in winter

Looking for tips to look after your houseplants? Here's how to keep your indoor plants alive and thriving in winter.

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5 min readWe all know how challenging it can be to get out of bed on a cold frosty morning. Doing anything in winter that requires you to leave the house when it’s raining is a no-go.

Well, you might be glad to know that you’re not the only one in struggle town. You might’ve noticed your indoor plants looking a little lifeless and droopy leaves browning or some fuzzy little creatures nestled in crevices.

During the winter months, the change in temperature, humidity and general conditions, like lack of sunlight can put a lot of stress on your plant babies, mainly because most indoor plants are of the tropical kind and are not comfortable in temps below 15 degrees Celsius.

But do not fret. If you’re looking for tips on how to care for indoor plants in winter, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at how to keep your indoor plants alive and happy in winter.

care guide houseplants winter rubber tree pots

How do you keep indoor plants warm in winter?

When temperatures change, we rely on our heating and cooling systems to keep us comfortable. Because most indoor plants are from tropical climates around the world, they too, also rely on ideal temperature settings, which is around 24 degrees Celsius. Now, unless you’re an Eskimo and live in an igloo, there are plenty of ways to keep indoor plants warm during winter.

The easiest and best way to keep your indoor plants warm in winter is to place them in a warm room. If you’re wondering about whether they are compatible with reverse cycle air conditioning, the answer is yes provided they aren’t directly under it as they do not like to sit in draughts. So, keep them away from any open windows, doors or direct line of heating and cooling systems.

How often should I water indoor plants in winter?

Overwatering in winter is one of the biggest dangers that can quickly kill an indoor plant. Where most people go wrong is not knowing when they need to slow down on the water. The good news is most houseplants do not require as much watering and care in winter as they do in summer.

Here are some simple tips to avoid overwatering indoor plants in winter:

  • Know when to water – Rather than playing a guessing game and testing the soil with your finger, there is an inexpensive tool you can purchase from Bunnings called a Soil Moisture Meter, that makes watering indoor plants in winter a cinch. It is the easiest way to avoid overwatering and keep your plant babies content.
  • Increase humidity – Dry air is relatively common in most homes during winter, as we crank our heating systems. Opt to place your indoor plants either inside your bathroom or kitchen, where they will thrive from the extra humidity. Another option is to run a humidifier. If you’re worried about the humidity levels in a room, you can quickly check both the temperature and moisture levels using a 2-in-1 thermometer and hygrometer. 

What are the best winter indoor plants?

If you’re thinking about decorating your home with some friendly fronds, you’ll want some indoor plants that survive winter. The question is, what is the best hard to kill indoor plant for winter? While some plants require better conditions than others to thrive, there is some more hardy than others.

Here are some plants that grow best indoors during winter.

ZZ plant

If you’re looking to try your hand at indoor plants, we highly recommend starting with the zz plant. The ‘set and forget’ plant is virtually indestructible and will maintain its healthy, green good looks even after months of neglect. Thanks to its thick and dry rubbery leaves, it’s able to withstand the dry winter air well, whereas other plants may exhibit brown crispy leaves in dry conditions. This makes it ideal for rooms with low moisture. It also does well in low-light locations.

care for indoor plants winter zz plant

Rubber tree

Similar to the zz plant, rubber trees have large, waxy leaves that are super hardy and require very little maintenance. The differentiating factor is that the rubber tree can also be grown outside, this means they can tolerate direct sunlight and can survive in colder temperatures with little water. The only thing to be aware of is how big they can grow!

care for indoor plants winter rubber tree

Snake plant

No matter how forgetful or neglectful you may be, if there’s one plant that can survive just about anything, it’s the snake plant. You’ll have no trouble at all in keeping this bad boy alive except for overwatering, which can be easily resolved with a soil moisture meter as mentioned above. The snake plant is fairly common and can be found in most nurseries or plant shops. They do fine in dry conditions with low-light. Look out for variations of colours on the leaves, including yellow, white or solid colour.

care for indoor plants winter snake plant

Succulents

Nothing is hardier than a collection of succulents. They come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes. They are perfect in a dry room sitting on a windowsill, office or computer desk and will not require much watering, if not any, during the winter months. Most of them will be dormant throughout winter until spring, although some may grow. Once the warmer months begin, resume regular watering once every 10 to 14 days.

care for indoor plants winter succulents

Fiddle leaf fig tree

The fiddle leaf fig tree is one of the most sought after indoor plants by many homeowners. Its uniquely shaped leaves and periods of dormancy makes it an excellent first choice. This plant should be watered once every two weeks during growing seasons (warmer months), and once a month during winter (when it is dormant). This may vary depending on the environment it is in, whether the room is cold or hot, draughty, humid or dry.

care for indoor plants winter

How to care for indoor plants in winter FAQ

Do indoor plants need to be fertilised in the winter?

Generally speaking, no, you don’t have to worry about fertilising your indoor plants in winter, as the majority of them are dormant during this period.

Do indoor plants grow in winter?

Most popular indoor plants are dormant during winter, this means less watering and maintenance for you to do.

Do you water plants in winter?

Yes, you’ll still need to water your plants in winter, but most will require less than they do typically in summer. Please make sure not to overwater them as this could potentially kill them. Remember to use a soil moisture meter to check moisture levels to prevent overwatering. 

How to control pests during winter?

Have you woken up to find fuzzy little bugs nestled on your plants? These are called mealybugs. Time and time again, these little suckers will plague your plants throughout winter and can be extremely difficult to get rid of completely. To stay on top of mealybugs and other pests, always check your plant for signs when watering or wiping down leaves. An excellent combatant is organic neem oil, which not only kills plant bugs but will help prevent them from coming back too.

Now you have our top tips to ensure you successfully care for your indoor plants in winter, your plants will survive and thrive all year long.

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Tom Berrigan
Tom Berrigan
Tom Berrigan manages All Air Services, an air conditioning company specialising in installation and repairs for residential and commercial operating in Perth. Tom has a keen interest in covering topics related to indoor air quality and home improvements.

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