Connecticut Garden Journal: Caring For Houseplants In Winter | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Garden Journal: Caring For Houseplants In Winter

Jan 30, 2020

It seems everyone is growing houseplants. But with their popularity, comes problems. Not all houseplants are easy to grow and some are more prone to dry indoor conditions, lack of light, and insects. Here's are some solutions to your houseplant problems.

One of the biggest problems with houseplants is the dryness of our homes in winter. Many of the foliage houseplants, such as peace lily, schefflera and fiddle leaf figs thrive in tropical areas with lots of humidity. Low humidity causes brown leaf tips, yellowing leaves, and lack of vigor. To keep the humidity high in winter, group plants together and place a drainage tray filled with pebbles and water under the plants to evaporate to keep the humidity up.

The low light levels in winter may lead to leggy weak growth, move part shade loving houseplants into a full sun location for the dark months and move them back to a shadier spot in March.

Check for insects regularly. If you have sticky leaves, spray insecticidal soap for aphids and white flies. If you find cottony mealy bugs, dab them with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. For larger infestations spray horticultural oil.

One of the more annoying insects is fungus gnats. These small black adults fly around often finding you wherever you are in the house. They are mostly just an annoyance, but that's a good enough reason to control them. Repot houseplants with fresh potting soil. Apply a layer of sand on top of the potting soil to kill the eggs that get laid. Also, drench the soil with Gnatrol to kill the larvae.