Winter can be as hard on indoor plants as it is on outdoor plants. You need to take a few precautions to ensure that your house plants survive the colder season.

Here’s everything you need to know to keep your indoor plants alive and thriving as the temperatures dip:

Water: Not too much, not too little, just enough

You still need to water your plants during winter – just less than you usually would. Overwatering your plant could cause rot and invite pests, and under-watering will ensure a sure and slow death. Make sure you check the requirements for your individual plant, as there are certain plant species that still thrive on lots of water during winter, and some that need none!

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Adequate light

Make sure that your plants receive adequate light in winter to keep them going. Because the sun changes its position from summer to winter, you might find that your plants no longer get enough light, or get too much sun. Observe the sun’s movements and then move them closer to a windowsill or into a sunny spot.

READ MORE: Planting a herb window-box

keep indoor plants alive during winter

Not feeling hot

While it is important to give your plants enough light, ensure that they are not exposed to drafts or extreme cold. Make sure that your floor plants aren’t standing on surfaces that are too cold. Certain plants are very sensitive to the cold.


Winters in South Africa are dry for the most part (except in winter rainfall areas), and indoor heating also contributes to drying out the air in your home even more. Keep your plants happy by misting them with lukewarm water, placing them near (but not in) water that will evaporate during the day, or if you are very serious, you can even get a humidifier for your plant.

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Don’t trust dust

Remember to dust the leaves of your plants. Leaves don’t work the way they’re supposed to when dirt accumulates on them, and grime tends to build up on indoor plants.

Be wise, fertilise

It’s a good idea to keep on fertilising your plants in winter, but just a bit less than you would in summer. Your indoor plants still need nutrients but should not be overfed in winter.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to make your own fertiliser

Cut back

Winter is a good time to prune your house plants: The pruning encourages growth come springtime. Do it in late winter, cutting back any dead bits and overhanging parts or straggly bits (if you want to keep the shape compact).

Like and repot

Assess your plant’s growth situation: Some plants might need to be moved to larger pots. Remember to provide good, fertilised soil for your plant’s new home. Wait until late winter or early spring to repot.

More ways to keep your indoor plants alive: How to care for indoor plants

Catherine Schenck – All4Women

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