Seasonal Plant Care

Seasonal Plant Care

This one's a short one, folks! Length aside, I thought it was important I hit on this topic.

I learned the hard way that there is actually a huge difference in how to care for houseplants in summer vs. winter. In Portland, about 8 months out the year is chilly and cloudy, while the remaining 4 months are insanely sunny and gorgeous. Between sun exposure, heat, watering and fertilizing, it's important to keep an eye on your plants throughout the changing seasons and adjust their care based off of what they need... and not what you think they need

Winter

Watering

Watering plants in the winter time is soooooo low maintenance! Generally, with a few exceptions, plants like to dry out a little before they are watered again. Because temperatures are naturally lower in winter, the water for your plants aren't being absorbed or evaporating out as fast so you can go MUCH longer without water. I've found vacationing in the winter is much easier partly because the plant care is so much less maintenance! 

Heat

This is a hard one. Based on the heating style in your home, you may have to completely rearrange your home based on how warm you keep your house and where your heat source is. My house is an old early century home that has an electric fireplace that is used as our primary source of heat in our living room and dining area. While this fireplace is in use, I have to remove all plants that live on top of the mantle and any that live in surrounding areas. The heat from heaters and fireplaces can dry out your plants and even cause some visible damage! I've even had a snake plant's leaves start to split because it was exposed to too much heat. 

Sun

Depending on where you live, this may be a biggie. Plants who needed to be a little farther away from the window during brighter months may now need to live right up on a window to get all it needs to grow. Most of my plants require bright indirect light, so the winter time is actually ideal lighting conditions around my house. I do have a couple croton, bird of paradise, and banana tree plants that require more sunlight, so those stay in my south facing windows and don't move.  

Fertilizing

Most plants don't require fertilizing in the winter time at all. How nice! Most of these plants will go dormant during the cold months so you just need to be mindful of overwatering and lighting, and you're all set! If your plant requires feeding during winter, it won't be very often. Be sure to do your research on each one of your plants to find out what it needs. 

Spring/Summer/Fall

Watering & Heat

Hot damn. Watering in winter can be very high maintenance. Depending on the heat, you may have to change your watering habits for each of your plants based off of how moist (sorry) they like to stay. Some plants like peace lilies end up becoming much higher touch because they like to stay moist (but not waterlogged) all of the time. Though they are pretty resilient, it's not great to stress these plants out too much otherwise they will start to take a turn for the worst. 

Even plants like a trailing pothos, who is drought tolerant, will need to be watered more often! I had my first pothos start to wilt on my the other day because I forgot to shorten the time between reminders to check on it. Damn pothos, is that how it's gonna be?

Also consider: Does your house turn into the 7th ring of hell in the summer? Well, maybe that is not the best environment for healthy plants. Most plants are ok up to a constant temperature of about 85 degrees. Anything hotter indoors may cause wilting or permanent damage to plants like Calatheas.  

Just be mindful of your plants and the heat. They will often require much more watering and attention during the summer months. But do not overwater! This can still happen when it's warm. Get to know your plants and know the signs when it's not happy.

Sun

Man have I learned this one the hard way. Like I had mentioned previously ^ most of my plants require bright indirect light, and even in a west facing window (where the only direct light is in the last part of the day), my plants will still scorch. YEP. Are your Monstera leaves starting to show little brown crispy spots of sadness? You're either overwatering or giving it too much sun, and my bet is on the sun bit. These specifically are canopy plants in tropical climates, so they enjoy lots of humidity and are super chill with medium to bright indirect light. Not direct light. Let me repeat that... your Monstera Deliciosa plant does not thrive off of direct light. Typically any plants you have up close on your windows during winter will need to take a giant step back during the summer. Last thing you want is a window sill full of sunburnt broken dreams. 

Fertilizing

Ayooooo! It's feeding time. 

Fertilizing during the warmer months is so important! This is the time your plants are awake and growing, so it is good to give them lots of nutrients to grow up big and strong. *Imagine me singing "Little Shop of Horrors" tunes here* A lot of plants like to be fertilized about once a month throughout the warm months, and this can be as easy as diluting some Miracle Grow liquid plant feed in a watering can, and slipping that in with a normal watering schedule. There are some exceptions, again check with your specific plant needs, but this is generally a really good rule to live by. Some plant enthusiasts even go with a consistent fertilizing every-other-watering. 

What are some of the challenges you've had with transitioning your plants from season to season?

Why Fertilize?

Why Fertilize?

A Visit to Fractal Flora

A Visit to Fractal Flora