Fall means gorgeous colors, cozy flannel shirts, and crisp morning air. It also means it’s the time of year that can wreak havoc on houseplants if not cared for properly. The following information describes how to care for houseplants during the fall season to keep them healthy and beautiful.
Transitioning From Outdoors to Indoors
Plants that have been outside have likely experienced a growth spurt over the summer. They’ve been exposed to intense sun and a wide variation of temperatures from day to night. Bringing them back inside to a completely different environment will be stressful. If plants have grown large enough that they need repotting, choose a pot that’s only about 1 or 2 inches larger in diameter. The transition will be more difficult if the pot is too big. Inspect stems, leaves, and foliage for any insects before bringing the plants back inside. Use a fine mist from the garden hose to gently rinse the plants. Cut away dead leaves and stems, but avoid too much pruning. Excessive pruning will promote heavy growth, and the fall is the time for plants to rest.
Keeping Plants Moist in a Dry Environment
Using a mister is a great way to keep the leaves moist without overwatering the entire plant. Keeping a humidifier nearby will keep the need to mist to a minimum. It’s a good idea to keep plants, especially tropicals, a safe distance from heaters and fireplaces. Due to the steam from stoves and showers, kitchens and bathrooms tend to have higher levels of humidity than other rooms. Plants with firm leaves can be kept clean with a soft cloth. Use a very mild solution of dish soap and tepid water to wash off dust and grease.
Getting Enough Sunlight
Plants that had been previously set a few feet away from the windows may need to be moved closer to make sure they receive the maximum amount of sunlight. Make sure windows and the surrounding areas are as clean and dust free as possible. This will provide for maximum light exposure. Some plants may need a fluorescent light to give them the full amount of light they need to flourish indoors.
Proper Watering Techniques
Overwatering is one of the biggest reasons houseplants falter. Instead of picking one or two days each week to water, only water when the plants really need it. How much water is needed is not always determined by how dry the top layer of soil feels. Placing a finger into the soil about 2 inches deep is a better way to determine watering needs. Another way to tell if plants need watering is to lift the pot and see how heavy it feels. When it’s dry the soil will be lighter. Finally, make sure the water is not too cold but room temperature.