10 Products That Will Help Keep Your Houseplants Alive This Winter
Plants function as wonderful decorations and purify the air in our homes. Keep your plants healthy with these 10 helpful products.
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Indoor air is dry, especially with the heater running. Houseplant expert and author Lisa Eldred Steinkopf says, “The most important thing is to raise the humidity during the winter months.” Not only will the humidity keep the plants from drying out, but it also helps to deter pests. “This is imperative as low humidity is a dinner bell for spider mites,” warns Steinkopf. Using a humidifier in your home during the winter will not just help out your plants, but can also help clear congestion.
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If you don’t need a humidifier for an entire room, you can localize the humidity to each plant with a pebble tray. You can buy one or DIY your own version by adding pebbles to the plant’s saucer and add water to the top of the pebbles. “Stand your plant, still in its own saucer, on top of the pebbles,” Stienkopf explains, “Keep the pebble tray full of water and the evaporating water will help keep the humidity up around your plant.” Here’s another simple trick to keep your houseplants from dying.
Another way to make sure the relative humidity in your home is good for your plants is with a water mister. You can use mist bottles to spray water around the plant. A sprayer that delivers a fine, even mist works best. However, the University of Georgia Extension Service recommends not misting plants with hairy foliage. Fuzzy or hairy foliage holds on to water longer—providing opportunities for disease spores to germinate.
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Keeping your plants’ leaves dust-free allows the leaves to absorb light and make food. Microfiber cleaning cloths and a little water work great to remove the dust and dirt from the leaves. Quality microfiber cloths are also great for cleaning windows. They’re excellent at trapping dirt and dust. Clean windows let in more light and your plants need all the light they can get during the winter. Lisa Eldred Steinkopf also suggests moving your plant to the shower or sink to wash the dust off.
LED grow lights
Because there is less light during the winter, Steinkopf suggests moving plants into rooms with a south-facing window. However, if you can’t, adding supplemental light is another option. LED grow lights typically feature a mix of red and blue lights. The mixed light accelerates plant growth and photosynthesis, making them the best choice for supplemental light. These lights also produce little heat, are energy-efficient and long-lasting. If you have a spot in your home where you want plants but it doesn’t get great light, LED grow lights are a must. If adding supplemental light isn’t an option, these houseplants thrive in low light.
Proper watering is one of the most important skills in plant care. Believe it or not, most people over-water plants. The National Garden Association says to “neglect with respect.” Since most houseplants don’t need as much water during the winter season, test the moisture level once a week. If the soil is dry at a 2-in. depth, the plant needs water. An easy way to determine the moisture level is with an aquameter. Simply insert the aquameter into the soil and the indicators will change colors to signal when the plant needs water. Learn these hacks to reviving a dead houseplant.
In the winter, dry air from HVAC vents can be hard on your plants. Lisa Eldred Steinkopf says that the solution is to use an air deflector. “It is a small, inexpensive, plastic item that is placed over heat vents to direct the hot, drying air away from your plants in the windows,” explains Steinkopf.
Although houseplants need less water in the winter, they do still need to be watered. The quality of water is just as important as the amount of water. Many plants are sensitive to chlorine and fluoride in tap water. Letting the water stand for several days before you water will help release the chlorine and fluoride. A watering can with a long spout is handy for getting to hard-to-reach places. Find out the 11 plants you didn’t know could be dangerous.
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The best way to keep indoor pests at bay is to have a healthy plant and catch the pests early. A safe way to get rid of flying pests, such as thrips, fungus gnats, whiteflies and more, is with sticky stakes. These easy-to-use stakes attract and trap flying insects without the use of pesticides.
Most houseplants are of tropical origin. The ideal temperate range for many houseplants is 70 to 80 degrees F during the day and 65 to 70 degrees F at night. You don’t have to heat your entire home to accommodate your plants. Instead, use a space heater to control the temperatures in the room where most of your plants hang out. Now, learn the 29 secrets your houseplant would tell you if they could.
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