7 Ways to Keep Plants Healthy in Winter

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Best Tips for Winter Houseplant Care

Healthy Winter PlantsLike bears, houseplants tend to become dormant in the winter. They need less water, less fertilizer, and less all-around care if their conditions are right and you follow a few basic rules to keep them happy. Who says you can't do any winter gardening?

As you move plants indoors, make sure they stay pest-free and have enough nutrients for their “hibernation” period by following these tips:

1)    Inspect plants before bringing them indoors. If they show signs of pests or disease, cure the problem before you infect your other indoor plants. Treat them with a mix of worm tea and diluted dish soap (it will help the tea stick to the leaves).

2)    Avoid placing plants in trouble spots. Don’t place plants near heat or air conditioning ducts, on a television, near a radiator, or between curtains and a frosty window.

3)    Provide the right light. Plants that require full sun will thrive in a south-facing window. East and West facing windows will have moderate sun. North facing windows have very little sun.

4)    Use a humidifier, or for a cheap and easy way, make a pebble tray. Air can be very dry in the winter because of heating the home. Simply obtain a sturdy tray with an edge and fill with pebbles. Fill halfway with water so that the tops of the pebbles are dry and the bottoms are submerged. Place the plant on top of the pebbles. As the water evaporates, the air surrounding the plants will be nicely humid. Keep an eye on the tray and keep half full.

5)    Always plant and repot into clean soil to minimize problems from fungus, gnats and other soil-borne diseases.

6)    Don’t crowd your plants. They need to be able to circulate air, so they should not be crowded together. It is also a good idea to occasionally aim an oscillating fan at the plants to simulate the breeze they would experience in their natural habitat.

7)    Give your plants a bath! Dust builds up on your plants over time and it is not good for them. Dust clogs the “pores” of the plant leaves, making it difficult for them to breathe. Dust also filters sunlight before it reaches the plant, limiting their necessary photosynthesis cycle.

Wipe houseplants with a moist, soft cloth that you have doused with a small amount of vermicast tea. For plants with many small leaves, use a spray bottle to douse and dislodge build-up. Water should be lukewarm, not cold or hot.

Never use a feather duster to clean plants, as you can easily transfer tiny insects or eggs from one plant to another.

3 Indoor Plants that Make Excellent Christmas Gifts

1)    Dendrobium and Phaeleonopsis OrchidsPhaeleonopsis orchids thrive indoors

Orchids are often thought of as difficult to grow, but the opposite is true. Orchids love to be neglected and most people kill them with kindness with too much water and sunlight. Orchids rid the air of xylene, a pollutant found in many glues and paints. Therefore they also make great housewarming gifts if someone has recently painted or renovated a space.

2)    Palms

These hardy houseplants are easy to grow and act as natural air purifiers. Palms specifically target and remove formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide, particularly helpful if someone in your household smokes.

3)    Herbs

Potted in a simple basket, herbs make a beautiful and useful gift. This thoughtful little treat can be used all winter long when preparing favorite recipes and can then be planted in Spring or kept as a window garden.

Life is short - order worm castings today and start putting these winter gardening tips to use!
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