7 Tips for Keeping Happy, Healthy Houseplants All Winter

Eunice Park | Feb 2, 2016 Home & Garden

There are many benefits to indoor houseplants. Plants, of course, not only perk up a room, but they also purify the air, reduce stress, and provide a pleasant and relaxing environment. And they are nice to look at!

To reap these natural gifts from plants, it’s important they receive tender loving care. We spoke with a few experts to get their tricks on keeping houseplants happy and healthy. Misting, not overwatering, and singing are just a few things that will help your plants be full of life.

happy healthy houseplants 

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  • Offer Sunlight


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    Most houseplants that you purchase come with instructions on how much light they need, but sometimes you inherit plants and don't know. Some plants, such as snake plants and peace lilies, will only require filtered light, which means they be away from a window as long as there is light in the room, says Jessica Lenker of J Lynn Nursery. Other plants, such as African violets, will need more light and should sit directly in front of a window.

  • Don't Overwater


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    Don't water your plants too much in the winter, says Dimitri Gatanas of Urban Garden NYC. Most houseplants prefer to have soil that is on the dry side before being watered again. “We recommend a nice shower, which will keep the leaves hydrated and the soil moist for a long time. In most cases, you could do this twice a month,” says Gatanas. Overwatering can lead to pests and rotting plants and is often what kills plants. 

  • Provide Humidity


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    With the heater on in the winter months, many homes lack humidity, which can be too drying for houseplants. Because plants aren’t being watered as much, it can be hard to keep the humidity levels up to snuff around the plant. While you can mist the leaves of plants, some plants like African violets do not like water on their leaves. “A simple humidity tray can be made from a watertight saucer,” says Tim Lamprey of Harbor Garden Center. He says to fill the saucer with small stones, then fill the saucer with water until the saucer is 3/4 full of water. Place the houseplant pot on the stones. As the water evaporates, it creates a cloud of humidity around the plant. Refill with water as necessary. 

  • Allow Drainage


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    Use pots with a drainage hole to allow excess water to drain out from the bottom. “Water can have salt and fertilizer definitely can have salt that will build up in the soil,” says Lamprey. “The salts can be absorbed by the roots and take up into the leaves. The salt can damage or kill the leaves. By watering the soil until the water comes out the bottom of the pot, you are flushing the salts out of the soil. “ If the pot is on a saucer, make sure to drain the water from the saucer as this prevents the soil from reabsorbing the salty water."

    More from The Stir: 10 Gorgeous Houseplants Even You Can Keep Alive (PHOTOS)

  • Dust Your Plants


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    Giving your plants a bath now will help them thrive. “Dust and other microscopic things can build up on the leaves of your plants,” says Lenker. She recommends using a warm cloth to wipe down the surfaces of your leaves to remove any impurities -- this will help your plant breathe and grow better. “If your plant has a structure like a spider plant and has many thin leaves making it hard to wipe by hand, you can spray the leaves off with a sink or shower sprayer to remove the dust,” says Lenker. 

  • Watch for Pests


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    Houseplants are often used for decorative purposes, which makes them easy to overlook in regards to maintenance. But ignorance may lead to little creatures. “Get in a routine of inspecting your plants foliage for common household pests such as aphids, mealy bug, and scales,” says Lenker. “Most indoor pests can be controlled by picking off the pest, spraying it off with a sink or shower sprayer, or by treating it with a little warm water with dish soap added in a spray bottle.”

  • Sing to Your Plants


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    Another way to keep your plants healthy and happy is to sing and converse with them. Researchers discovered that some sound really can influence the growth of plants. Gatanas says you should sing or talk to your plants as much as you can -- the more attention you give to them, the more you may see what kind of care they need.

    More from The Stir: 16 Plants That Are Easy to Grow on Your Patio (PHOTOS) 


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