Fall Houseplant Care

    • Japanese maples and snowball bushes are some of the most colorful shrubs in the fall. Plant them now and give them a head start on spring.
    • Transplant shrubs that need to be moved this month. It’s also a good time to transplant natives.
    • Compost falling leaves to make excellent garden mulch by next season.
    • Clean up dead foliage on perennials like peonies, daylilies and balloon flower and cut back dead flower stems on Echinacea, blanket flower and penstemon.
    • Cover your pond with netting or shade cloth to catch falling leaves so they don’t rot in the pond.

Fall Houseplant Care

Autumn is a time to pay a little attention to your houseplants. At this time of year heaters and wood stoves make the air too dry for most tropical houseplants. But by providing adequate humidity, a good location and proper water and fertilizer the plants should do just fine.
Temperatures can be a problem especially if you use a wood stove for heating. Temperatures are often too high near wood stoves and too cold if you leave the house for a few days. Window sills behind drawn drapes where potted plants are often set can be death traps of freezing air when the outside temperature drops to or below freezing, as it often does in the winter.

To increase the humidity around your plants place them on a layer of pebbles in a water-filled tray. You can also mist plants with water on a regular basis.

Houseplants need bright light exposure during the fall and winter months. So try to place them within 4 or 5 feet of a window. Flowering plants may need two to four hours of artificial light in the evening in order to keep them flowering.

Since most plants go into a semi-dormancy in the winter they don’t require as much water as during the growing season. However, if your house is warm or the plants are near a heat source, they may need more frequent watering. So check for water regularly to determine an appropriate watering schedule. Flowering plants require more water than foliage plants. Empty saucers about 15 minutes after watering.

Foliage houseplants like philodendrons, ferns, spider plants, etc. can be fertilized once every three months during the dormant season. Flowering house plants like African violets, azaleas, cyclamen, and others should be fertilized monthly. Be sure they get maximum bright light and even two to four hours of artificial light in the evening.

Azaleas in bloom will need water almost daily. Give them bright light, extra humidity, and keep them away from drafts. Cyclamen prefer cooler temperatures, lots of light and enough but not too much water. Feed them weekly and they should keep flowering for months.

Poinsettias prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees, but they don’t like drafts. Keep the humidity up and give them lots of light. Let them dry out between waterings, feed occasionally and they should last for three months. If you have a poinsettia from last year, place it in a spot where it gets fourteen hours of total darkness and ten hours of bright light each day. Christmas cactus takes the same light requirements and water them sparingly.

For happy houseplants, check for water regularly; bring the plants in from the window sills when the drapes are drawn; keep the humidity up; keep them out of the line of drafts and away from fierce heat. A little extra care at this time of the year will help keep your houseplants in tip-top shape this fall and winter.

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