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A guide to caring for houseplants year-round

House Plants In Sunshine

Caring for houseplants can be a difficult task. Often temperamental and sensitive to the slightest change in temperature, light or moisture, the obligations of houseplant ownership only become more complex when you bring the changing seasons into the mix. We understand that keeping your indoor plants alive and thriving can seem like a challenge; that’s why we’ve created this guide to caring for them all year. 

Jump to:
Winter houseplant tips
Spring houseplant tips
Summer houseplant tips

Winter houseplant tips 

Often the harshest season on your houseplants, winter can pose several questions when finding the right action for your green friends. Here are some commonly asked winter houseplant questions and their answers: 

How often should I water indoor plants in winter? 

With winter comes less light, and as a rule, less light means less water. Like any other living organism, the more sunlight a plant receives, the thirstier it gets over time. With limited sunlight in winter, plants use less water than they do when they’re actively growing in the warmer months. 

A plant watered every week in summer might prefer to go two weeks between watering during winter. However, this rule will vary from plant to plant, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your green friend and tweak your watering schedule accordingly. Purchasing a smaller watering vessel can also help you avoid the temptation of overwatering. 

Following a strict watering scheme is less effective if you’re dealing with a drought-tolerant houseplant. As the name suggests, these plants are used to more extended periods without water and typically thrive in drier soil. Instead, check how the potting mix feels before watering by poking your finger at least an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, water your plant thoroughly. If it’s moist, wait a couple more days before quenching your plant’s thirst. 

How much sunlight should my houseplants get during winter? 

The amount of sunlight a houseplant needs varies from species to species. That said, when the sun comes up later and sets earlier in the winter, all plants receive less sunlight than they would during the spring or summer. 

If possible, you may want to move your indoor plants closer to windows during the colder season to fully take advantage of the limited light source. If they’re on the floor, consider placing them on a plant stand to get them closer to natural light. 

Rotation is also vital to ensure a healthy winter houseplant. Aim to turn your pots a quarter turn each week to ensure all sides of your plant get the benefit of sunlight. If boosting the light levels isn’t possible, most plants will be fine and naturally adjust to the seasonal outside changes. 

Poinsettias In Flower

Should I move my indoor plants during the winter? 

As the nights draw in, it’s common to panic and move your plants to the closest window or warm space available. Although beneficial in some cases, you should evaluate the condition of your houseplant and how it’s coping in its current surroundings before making a drastic decision. 

Temperatures you are comfortable in are typically acceptable for most houseplants during chilly spells. However, extreme temperature changes, even briefly, can cause issues. Keep plants away from cold drafts, radiators, and hot air vents. These sudden hot and cold drafts can stress your plants, causing cold damage or them to dry out. 

My houseplant is shedding leaves; should I be worried? 

Bringing houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors back into your home will likely cause some leaves to drop. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, this is just their way of adjusting to the lower light levels found within our homes. If your plant stays inside all year round, a small amount of leaf shedding is also normal as we come into winter.

Should I repot my houseplant during winter? 

With the lack of growth and general boredom that can come over us green-fingered folk in the winter, it’s tempting to repot our plants in readiness for the seasons to come. However, it’s wise to fight that temptation. Plants take to repotting the best during the spring and summer months, as this is the period that they’re actively growing. Repotting them in the depths of winter can negatively affect your houseplants, shocking them out of their dormant state. 

Spring houseplant tips

Now that the doom and gloom of winter has passed, it’s time to cast our eye forward to spring. This season is a wonderful time for gardening and houseplant care as the weather warms up and the days get longer, waking our green friends from their dormant state. Here are some top tips to keep in mind for your houseplants during the spring season:  

How often should I water my houseplants in spring? 

As the weather starts to warm up, your plants will naturally grow more quickly and require more water to do so. A good rule of thumb is to gradually increase the frequency of your watering schedule but be careful not to overwater. 

What pests should I look out for in spring? 

As spring begins, the presence of plant-interfering pests like spiders, mites, and mealybugs begins to rise. To prevent damage to your green friends, it’s a good idea to inspect your houseplants regularly and treat any infestations. 

When should I repot my indoor plants? 

If you’ve noticed that your plant is outgrowing its current vessel or the soil has become compacted, spring is the perfect time to repot. Choose a planter that is one size larger than your plant’s current home, and use fresh potting soil. 

Potting Plants In Compost

When should I start fertilising my indoor plants? 

With the increase in growth, your plants might also require more nutrients to reach their full potential. To get the best results, start fertilising once a month during the spring with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser. 

Should I move my plants in spring? 

As the days begin to get longer, your plants may need more light. If possible, move them closer to a window or consider using additional lighting if needed. 

Summer houseplant tips

Now that you've weathered the winter and had spring growth, it's time for the hottest season - summer! This season is a great time for indoor plants but can also be when they need the most attention. Here are some tips on caring for houseplants during summer:  

How often should I water my houseplants during summer? 

Now that the temperature is reaching its peak, you'll want to water your plants more frequently. Not only are they drinking more than usual, but the hot weather can cause the soil to dry out quickly. 

Check on them every few days to ensure they're moist. Top up the water only once the soil feels dry to the touch two inches under the surface. We know it's tempting, but overwatering your green babies is a recipe for disappointment. 

Potted Vegetable Plants In Kitchen Window

How to water houseplants when on holiday 

As summer comes, many of us decide to jet off to a sunnier climate. As much of a welcome break as it is for you, it's not so much of a pleasant experience for your indoor plants. If you're taking a trip during summer, here are some handy tips to keep your plants perky. 

Firstly, invest in some Hydrospikes. You fill these nifty gadgets with water before you leave and then stick them in your plants' soil. Your plants will suck up the water as and when they need it in your absence. 

The second tip is to move your plants out of direct sunlight. Although plants thrive on sunlight, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While you're away, it's impossible to regulate the amount of sunlight your plants will be exposed to, so it's better to move them out of direct contact while you're away. 

The third tip is to group your plants before you leave. Your plants will create their own microclimate, which will help keep the surrounding air moist while you're busy enjoying yourself elsewhere. 

Is it good to put my houseplants outside in summer? 

Most houseplants can be put outside between May and September. However, timings do vary around the country and from year to year, so to be safe, wait until around 2-4 weeks after the last frost. If your garden is especially exposed, you should wait a little longer. 

How can I keep the air humid for my houseplants? 

Creating a humid environment for your plants can help keep them hydrated for longer during the warmer months. To do this, spritz your plants with a mister every day. You can also pop your plant’s pot on a water-filled tray with pebbles to prevent root rot. If that feels like too much effect, pop your plants in your steamy bathroom. The steam from your shower will create the perfect environment for your plants to thrive. 

Should I prune my plants during summer? 

If you’re lucky enough to notice flowering on your plants, remember to ‘deadhead’ them when the flowers wilt in later summer / early autumn. ‘Deadheading’ is just a fancy word for pinching or snipping off wilted flowers. This will encourage the plant to replace the old flowers with new ones in the coming seasons.