How to Keep Your Indoor Plants Thriving During Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for indoor plant owners. With the drop in temperature and decrease in natural light, it’s crucial to provide the right care to ensure your plants stay healthy and vibrant.

In this article, we will discuss essential tips and techniques to keep your indoor plants thriving during the winter months.

From proper watering techniques to optimizing light exposure and maintaining humidity levels, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

1. Adjusting Watering Practices

Proper watering is essential for the well-being of your indoor plants, especially during the winter when their water requirements may change.

Instead of following a rigid watering schedule, it’s crucial to assess each plant’s needs individually. Factors such as pot size, pot type, temperature, and light exposure can influence how often your plants should be watered.

When determining the watering frequency, rely on the finger test – stick your finger into the soil to check for moisture. In winter, plants generally require less frequent watering due to reduced light levels and slower growth.

Succulents, for example, can go longer periods without water, while tropical foliage plants may need the top inch or two of soil to dry out before watering.

Regularly check your plants’ soil moisture levels and adjust your watering accordingly. Avoid blindly adhering to a calendar schedule as it may not align with your plants’ specific needs.

By paying attention to your plants’ individual requirements, you can ensure they receive optimal care throughout the winter season.

2. Maximizing Light Exposure

During winter, natural light becomes scarcer, which can impact the growth and overall health of your indoor plants. To mitigate this issue, it’s essential to position your plants in areas that receive the most sunlight. Placing them directly in front of windows is ideal, especially in regions with harsh winters.

Avoid keeping your plants several feet away from windows, as even though it may appear bright to the naked eye, the light intensity diminishes significantly at such distances. If you don’t have access to bright windows, consider using artificial grow lights to supplement your plants’ light needs.

LED grow lights, such as the HTGSupply 4 foot high output T5 light fixtures or the HLG 65 V2 4000K LED grow light, can provide the necessary light spectrum for healthy plant growth.

Remember that even plants labeled as “low light” can benefit from increased light exposure during winter. Take advantage of winter sunshine by positioning your plants within 1-2 feet of a window, or utilize artificial grow lights to ensure they receive adequate light for photosynthesis.

3. Keeping Your Plants Clean

Maintaining clean leaves is crucial for the overall health of your indoor plants, particularly during the winter when dust tends to accumulate more rapidly.

Dusty leaves can impede photosynthesis and hinder your plants’ ability to breathe. Additionally, dust acts as a breeding ground for pests like spider mites, which thrive in dry, warm environments.

Regularly monitor your plants for dust accumulation and clean their leaves accordingly. For larger plants, use a mister to spray the leaves and wipe them with a paper towel or sponge.

Smaller plants can be taken to the sink or shower for a gentle spray of warm water. However, be cautious with plants that may be prone to rot, such as succulents or Phalaenopsis orchids.

Ensure that water doesn’t get trapped in between leaves or in the crown of the plant to prevent potential issues.

By keeping your plants clean, you not only promote their ability to carry out essential biological processes but also deter pests that may harm their overall well-being.

4. Increasing Humidity

Winter often brings dry indoor air, which can negatively impact your plants’ health and vitality. To combat the effects of low humidity, there are several effective methods to increase moisture levels around your plants.

One approach is to place your plants on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water. The water level should be below the pebbles, allowing for evaporation and subsequently increasing humidity.

Grouping your plants together can also enhance humidity levels, as they naturally release moisture through a process called transpiration.

Another effective method is to use a humidifier. Investing in a good-quality humidifier can help maintain optimal humidity levels for your plants and provide additional benefits for your respiratory system. Look for humidifiers that are suitable for the size of your space and easy to maintain.

Increasing humidity during winter not only prevents excessive moisture loss from your plants but also creates a more comfortable environment for both you and your green companions.

5. Adjusting Fertilization Practices

While fertilization is essential for healthy plant growth, it’s crucial to adjust your fertilization practices during the winter when many indoor plants enter a period of rest.

With reduced light and slower growth, plants do not require as much nutrients as they do during their active growing season.

To determine the right time to fertilize, observe your plants for signs of growth. Typically, plants will exhibit new growth in late winter or early spring, signaling the start of their active growth phase. At this point, you can resume fertilizing to provide the necessary nutrients for robust development.

During the winter months, it’s best to let your plants rest and conserve their energy. Avoid fertilizing when there is no active growth, as it may lead to nutrient imbalances and potential harm to your plants. Instead, focus on other aspects of winter plant care, such as light exposure and humidity levels.

6. Protecting Against Cold Drafts

Cold drafts can have detrimental effects on indoor plants, causing leaf drop, bud abortion, or even plant distress. To protect your plants from cold drafts, ensure they are positioned away from areas where doors and windows are frequently opened.

Additionally, if you have drafty windows, consider using inexpensive window insulation kits to reduce or eliminate cold drafts. These kits provide an extra layer of insulation, safeguarding your plants from extreme temperature fluctuations.

While protecting against cold drafts is crucial, it’s equally important to be mindful of heating vents. Placing plants in close proximity to heating vents can cause leaf scorching or burning due to excessive heat.

Be mindful of the positioning of your plants and ensure they are away from direct heat sources.

Creating a draft-free environment for your indoor plants will contribute to their overall well-being and help them thrive throughout the winter season.

7. Delaying Repotting

During winter, it’s generally best to avoid repotting your indoor plants. Repotting can disrupt their rest period and potentially lead to issues such as root rot. It’s advisable to wait until your plants enter their active growing season to ensure successful repotting.

The ideal time to repot is when you observe signs of growth, typically in late winter or early spring. As longer and brighter days trigger new growth, you can safely repot your plants to provide fresh soil and promote healthy root development.

If you live in an area with consistent bright light or use grow lights year-round, repotting can be done as needed. However, for beginners or those concerned about potential stress on their plants, it’s best to follow the recommended repotting timeline.

Remember, providing a period of rest for your plants during winter is crucial for their overall health and growth in the long run.


Caring for your indoor plants during winter requires some adjustments to ensure they receive the necessary light, humidity, and water. By following these tips, you can provide optimal conditions for your plants to thrive during the colder months.

Remember to monitor each plant’s specific needs and adjust your care accordingly. With proper attention and care, your indoor plants will continue to add beauty and vibrancy to your space all year round.

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