How to Keep Your Houseplant Thriving Through Winter

Nov 18, 2016

When it starts to get colder, a lot of people bring plants inside from outdoors, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension; Linda Naeve Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Specialist; and Mark Vitosh, DNR District Forrester about caring for house plants during the winter.

Some plants don’t look as healthy once they have been brought indoors, according to Jauron, That's okay. 


“Not to panic. The plants typically drop leaves due to stress. They may lose some leaves for a month or two but that’s normal.” 


"If you have plants all summer long, the indoor environment will be different. The indoors are dryer and the light is much shorter. During the winter months, light levels are much lower. You may consider moving plants to a more lighted area," Jaron says. "One of the most typical places to put a plant is in the window to receive more light, but, the foliage should not touch the window. It can kill the plant."


It's important to note that the humidity is a lot different inside versus outside, which matters when you think about how often to water plants once they've been brought inside.


"There are a few variables to consider: 1. The plant’s needs, 2. Type of container, 3. Drainage holes (in the container).The air temperature might be a little lower. Overall, reduce the amount of water.  Let the plant tell you what it needs.  Many times house plant enthusiasts kill their plants with kindness or let them wilt," says Naeve. 


With watering plants, as a general rule, look for wilting. Check the soil.  If it’s dry, the plant needs water.