From the Desk of Ed Hume: A Few Important Words on the Care of Houseplants in the Fall

October 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

It’s time to check and see how your houseplants are doing!

In the autumn when temperatures cool down and days get shorter, the needs of your houseplants may change considerably.  Here are a few things you need to check:

HUMIDITY – As the daytime and nighttime temperatures get colder outside, we turn up the thermostat inside to warm the home.  That tends to create hot, dry air inside which is not favorable for growing most indoor tropical plants.  To help provide some humidity for our tropical plants, I like to place a glass or decorative vase filled with water near our houseplants.  I find that as the water evaporates, it helps provide humidity for the surrounding houseplants.

PLACEMENT – Light exposure can also become a major factor in the health of many houseplants.  In the autumn, the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the horizon, so indoor plants are exposed to less natural light.  Therefore some plants may need to be moved to a spot where there is brighter light, or be given some additional evening room or lamp light.  Note, I said may need, because if you keep your indoor plants in the same location year-round and they have been doing just fine, don’t move them now.

WATERING – When and how much water to give indoor plants can be tricky at this time of year.  You’ll have to experiment a little.  With lower light exposure, many houseplants tend to become a bit dormant and their need for water and food lessens.  One way to determine if a particular plant needs more water is to simply lift the pot.  If it is dry the plant and pot will be lighter, and if wet it will be heavier.  Change your watering schedule accordingly.

FEEDING – It is often recommended that indoor plants be fed monthly.  I do not recommend that most be fertilized that frequently.  During the fall and winter months when your plants tend to be more dormant, feeding should be kept at a minimum.  In fact, I recommend only one feeding during the fall and winter, unless they are a winter flowering plant…then only once every other winter month.

Enjoy your houseplants, and remember they help purify the air in the home, so they are not only attractive but they help make your home environment much healthier as well.

You will find a whole chapter on houseplant care on our web site


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From the Desk of Ed Hume: Painting Pumpkins, Eliminating Slugs, and Other Fall Projects Ed’s Podcasts: Houseplants That Purify the Air

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