If the cold days are drawing in, you might be looking at your houseplants and wondering whether they will continue growing during the cooler months, or whether they are going to stop entirely.
Understanding if your houseplants will grow or not in winter as well as how to deal with it can save you a lot of frustration.
Here’s if Houseplants Grow In Winter:
Some houseplants do grow in winter, but most will enter a dormant state and not grow much through the winter. Plant growth slows down because there is less light available for them, so photosynthesis and their metabolism becomes slower.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help your plant out when it’s cold and dark:
Do Indoor Plants Grow Slower In Winter?
You might think that houseplants wouldn’t notice winter coming – they are after all being kept indoors in a snug environment, away from snow, wind, and frosts.
Why would winter affect their growth?
Winter does affect houseplant growth, and many indoor plants slow down when the end of the year approaches. This is because there is much less light for them, so they can’t output growth as fast as they can in the summer, when they have sun for long hours each day.
Remember, houseplants can tell seasons apart, just like their wild counterparts.
For some plants, the cooler weather also prompts slower growth, although this is more species dependent. Some plants will become completely dormant, prompted by both temperature and light changes, until the following spring.
Houseplants Bought In Winter: Will They Still Grow?
There’s no reason to hold off on buying houseplants when winter comes. Many plants will keep growing, albeit slowly, and others will simply start in the spring. Also, this is very much dependent on which kind of plant you have bought.
Winter dormancy tends to be common among tropical plants like Pothos, Philodendrons, Monsteras, Snake plants, Aloe veras, and Chinese evergreens.
These plants will keep their greenery and will look fine, but they will not grow much, if at all, until the temperature warms up and the days get longer.
As long as your house is warm enough and the conditions are good, plants bought in winter will be fine.
Do Winter Plants Grow In Winter?
Winter plants usually grow in the winter months, yes, but it will really depend on the species. For example, the Christmas cactus and Poinsettias will need a dormancy period, but most do grow more during wintertime.
However, winter growth is not exclusive to winter plants, a lot of other houseplants grow a bit during the winter months.
As long as they are still getting light, water, and nutrients, and the temperatures are kept reasonably high, they should be able to grow.
Houseplants that don’t need to turn dormant will usually continue to grow a bit in the winter, as long as they don’t get too cold and they have enough light.
To manage expectations, it’s always best to do your research on your plant species rather than expecting winter plants to grow during winter because some do while others might turn dormant.
7 Houseplants That Keep Growing Through Winter
So, which houseplants should continue to grow through the winter months?
For any of these, you will need to provide the right conditions if you want them to keep growing, but you might find that the following plants grow well in winter:
- Phalaenopsis orchid
- Cyclamen persicum
- Holly shrub
- Christmas cactus
Some of these will slow down if you live in a place with particularly low light and cold weather, but a lot of them will continue to grow well throughout the winter and early spring.
They should tolerate temperature fluctuations well and deal with getting a little dried out.
Make sure you are still maximizing the environment to be as suitable as possible for each individual plant’s needs.
Can You Make Your Houseplants Grow Through Winter?
Yes, you can make your houseplants grow all throughout the winter. If you want to force houseplants to keep growing through winter, the best way is to make them assume it’s summer. To do that, you simply need warmth and light.
Do NOT rush to put your plants on or near a radiator, though, because that will kill all plants very quickly; it’s much too hot for them.
In general, you want to keep the room that your plant is in warm, but not hot. If you make it too hot, the plant will wilt and then die. A radiator is usually sufficient to keep the room warm.
Check what temperature your plant prefers, and set your thermostat accordingly.
Remember, though, that different parts of the room will be warmer than others. Most plants don’t want to be kept next to a window (especially a single glazed one) when it’s winter, especially if you want them to grow well.
Use a thermometer to check which parts of the room enjoy stable, warm temperatures.
Keep them away from any heat sources too; you don’t want a plant near an open fire, a storage heater, candles, heat mats, or anything else.
In general, a plant should be about three feet away from a heat source, although this does depend on the source and how hot it is.
Next, you need to think about light – namely, a grow light.
Most plants will get a little energy from artificial lights, but grow lights are the best option because they provide the full spectrum that plants need.
A grow light will persuade your plant that it is sitting in the sun, and is a great way to keep it growing throughout the winter when the days are short.
However, you should check that your plant will appreciate this before you do it, as some plants do benefit from dormancy periods.
Grow Lights For Houseplants In Winter (Help or Damage)
Grow lights are a great and safe way to make your houseplants grow throughout winter. As long as you provide the full spectrum of light necessary, your plants will interpret it as daylight. However, make sure you turn them off overnight to give your plants some rest.
Grow lights do not give off heat the way that traditional bulbs do, so there’s no risk of you accidentally setting your plants on fire because of the light. They are also low energy, so they won’t cost a lot to run.
Although they are a great option, never forget to turn your grow light off overnight and also do your research because some plants require a period of dormancy. Being exposed to constant light can stress out your plants.
They need a period of darkness, and this is best done overnight when the house is naturally dark.
A grow light is also safe in all other ways, though; it is not likely to cause a house fire, get hot and melt surfaces, or even have a big impact on your energy bills.
Grow lights are fairly cheap to run, and they are a great way to encourage your plant to keep growing as winter sets in.
Winter Care For Actively Growing Plants
If your plant still seems to be growing happily, you might be wondering how your routine needs to change for the winter.
There are a few things that you should do:
Firstly, check that your plant is at least a few inches from your windows and that it is out of any direct drafts. Glass can get very cold, even on the inside, in winter. If your plant’s leaves are touching the glass, they may suffer from frost damage.
Moving the plant a little further from the window will help to insulate it.
Next, slow down on watering and fertilizing your plant. Your plant does still need water in the winter because winter air can be very dry, but if it isn’t growing much, it needs less food and less water.
Many people stop fertilizing their plants entirely over the winter and this will be fine for almost all plants, but you do need to keep watering.
The best way to measure whether your plant is thirsty is to push the tip of your finger into the plant’s soil. If it is dry to about an inch down, the plant may be ready for a drink. If the soil is still wet, wait a while longer.
Do be careful not to over-water your plant, as the moisture will linger in the pot for a lot longer in winter than it does in summer.
In summary, if your houseplant is growing nicely in winter here is how you can care for it:
- Make sure the plant’s leaves aren’t touching the cold glass.
- Reduce your watering schedule and only water when the first inch of the soil is dry.
- Avoid feeding, unless your plant species really needs it.
Will Your Houseplants Keep Growing In Winter In An Unheated Room?
Yes, some plants will continue to grow a little bit during the winter even if they are in an unheated room, but most tropical plants will stop and turn dormant.
However, it will really depend on how harsh the winters are where you live because an unheated room could get cold enough to kill your plants.
You should check your plant’s minimum temperature tolerance before putting it into an unheated room, or you could damage it.
Many houseplants will grow in winter, while some have a natural period of dormancy. If the light levels are too low, plants tend to slow down or stop growing, and wait for longer days before they start outputting new growth.
Don’t worry if this happens, but if you want to keep your plant growing, consider a grow light and a cozy room.