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How to Prepare Your Indoor Plants for Fall

Hands surrounded by indoor plants, Chinese money plant and golden pothos plant

Indoor plants beautify your home in a way man-made decorations simply can't. They have a unique flavor - offering a soft, organic embellishment that boosts moods and freshens the air. And though indoor plants avoid most of the extreme fluctuations of outdoor temperatures, they are still affected by the seasons. In fact, indoor plants go dormant at the beginning of fall as they detect differences in their environment. Plants are keen on detecting even the smallest changes which include less light, lower humidity, and cooler temperatures. So how do you prepare your indoor plants so that they continue to thrive even when their growth needs change? Check out these tips on keeping your indoor and potted plants in good shape.

Prepare Indoor Plants for the Fall

  1. Why do Plants Go Dormant?
  2. Change Your Watering Schedule
  3. Get the Most Light
  4. Relax on the Fertilizer
  5. Look Out for Bugs
  6. Use a Humidifier

Why Do Plants Go Dormant?

Plants go through cycles of growing and dormancy throughout the year. This is why grass grows quickly in the summer but stays short in the winter. Low humidity, colder temperatures, and less light trigger dormancy, a state in which plants focus on sustaining their life instead of growing bigger. This is a reaction that happens once the right conditions appear. In nature, dormancy ensures a plant’s survival by prepping a plant to live in cold temperatures, dry soil, and a lack of nutrients. Dormant plants lay low and conserve energy until they detect warm weather once more.

Even though indoor plants aren't braving the elements, this is still a difficult transition for them. However, you can successfully keep your house plants looking good and thriving even after these changes begin. A change in growing habits doesn't mean that your plans are going to wither away and die. It just means that you need to adjust your care methods so that they thrive in their dormant state.

Change Your Watering Schedule

Over-watering is one of the biggest challenges that indoor house plants face in the fall and winter. It's easy to overwater the plant when its requirements decrease. To adjust to your plant's needs, slow down your watering frequency once fall approaches and the weather is consistently cooler outside. This helps signal to the plant that it's time to start its dormancy. Though it may seem strange to let the soil become drier than in the summer, this will enable the plant to stay in the right conditions for the fall and winter. If you need extra help, purchase a soil moisture gauge so that you can stick to the plant’s recommended moisture levels.

At the same time, you should always keep a careful eye on your plant to see if they are wilting from lack of water. Take care not to shock your plant. Instead, gently decrease the water amounts so that everything remains in balance. Don't make too many extreme changes at once. For specific requirements, check out your plant's care instructions.

Get the Most Light

In the fall and winter, the days get shorter. Therefore, it's important to move your plants to a room where they get the most sunlight. Try a south-facing window since this gets your plant all of the strongest afternoon sunlight. If you don’t have a south-facing window, use an east-facing window that captures a lot of morning and afternoon sun, then move your plant to a place with good indoor lighting for the evening. You may also want to supplement your plants with growing lights.

  • Pro tip: Though it's good to be near a window for light, do not place your plants near any drafty areas. This means that you should avoid directly placing a plant on a windowsill since these areas have the most extreme fluctuations in temperatures in the winter. Instead, give some space for your plants so that they have the benefits of the light but not the drafts from outside that can confuse them.

Relax on The Fertilizer

Dormant plants should not be fertilized. However, you do not want to shock your plants that are used to fertilizer by going “cold turkey” on the nourishment. Instead, slowly wean your house plants off the nutrients so that they can reach a fully unfertilized state. It's vital to do as much as you can to be gentle with your plant’s transition. In the late summer, cut the fertilizer amount by half, then continue to halve the amount each month until you're using close to nothing. Finally, you may stop administering fertilizer until the growing season returns.

Look Out for Bugs

Houseplants are prone to bugs in the fall, especially if you are moving them in from the outside. The best way to prevent bug problems is to debug your plant before they come inside. This prevents major infestations that can destroy the health of your plant. Fall is the breeding season for plant bugs. In fact, this issue can even happen to plants that have never gone outside.

So how do you prevent plant bug problems? To start, inspect the leaves and sift through the soil to look for any indoor plant bugs. When you locate the bugs, wipe them off with a damp rag or spray them off your plants with a spritzer. Bugs can also be weeded out with a cotton swab and picked up with tweezers. You may dip this cotton swab in rubbing alcohol or vegetable oil. At your gardening store, you may also find solutions that can solve bug problems in the soil. These professionally made formulas can save you a lot of worries when you want to be sure your plant is clear of bugs.

Use a Humidifier

Furnaces take a lot of moisture out of the air, so even though the inside of your house is warmer, your plants will lack the humidity that they're used to during the spring and summer. To restore the desired moisture levels, install a humidifier in the room where your plants live. This will help them get what they need from the environment about having new leaves dry out too much. It's also good for your health because higher humidity levels make it more difficult for viral transmission. If you have some fussy plants, you may install an indoor Greenhouse.

Indoor Plants, Flowers, & More!

By following these tips, you can keep all of your indoor plants healthy during the coldest seasons of the year. Find amazing indoor plants, bouquets, and other thoughtful gifts at UrbanStems today.

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