Gardening

4 tips to keep your houseplant alive during the winter

By: Alyssa Ashton

©iStockphoto.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Gardening

4 tips to keep your houseplant alive during the winter

By: Alyssa Ashton

Canadian winters are a dark and dreary affair. Adding a potted flower to your home not only brightens cold winter days, but also benefits your health.

A comprehensive report by The Canadian Nursery and Landscaping Society found that plants have many positive effects on our mental and physical health. Plants help remove the toxins from your home, like formaldehyde, which is often found in heating and cooking fuels.

In terms of your mental health, studies have shown that flowers can boost your energy, make you happier and reduce your stress.

So you definitely want to add a few colourful blooms to your home. But how do you keep your flowers alive when there is so little sunlight. Brian Minter of Minter Country Garden Ltd in Chilliwack, B.C. shared his tips for keeping your plants alive during the cold winter months.

1. Don't repot your plant
You may be tempted to replant your flower in a larger pot. But Minter says this is "certain death" at this time of year.  "Plants need to be root-bound in a smaller container so that when you do water, the water goes through quickly and doesn't sit and begin to rot the roots," he says. Think of your plant's roots like your hair. In the summer, your hair dries quicker because of the heat and humidity. It's the same for your plant's roots. But things don't dry as quickly in the winter, meaning your plant's roots are more likely to rot. So avoid replanting and overwatering, which brings us to our second tip.

2. Don't overwater

Overwatering is a common problem in both the summer and winter. But Minter says there is an easy way to tell if your plant is thirsty. Pick up your flower and feel its weight. Does it feel heavy? Then it doesn't need to be watered. If it feels light then give it a good watering. Yes, it's that simple.

3. Don't use cold water

On chilly winter mornings, do you take a cold shower? Of course not! So why would you do the same to your plant, Minter says. He advises you give your plant a thorough watering using warm water.

4. Don't feed your plant
There's no need to fertilize in the winter because your plant isn't in a growing cycle, Minter explains.  "Leave your feeding until we get back into the longer days," he says, noting that end of March to mid-April is when it's best to start fertilizing. "The sun is back, longer days are back and the growing cycle begins."

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7 resilient winter houseplants

Bromeliads

If you're looking for a plant that requires minimal care then invest in a beautiful Bromeliad, advises Brian Minter of Minter Country Garden Ltd. "Bromeliads are the superstars in terms of low care, high performance," he says. "All you have to do is keep the soil reasonably moist and have a bit of warm water in the centre of the plant."

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Dracaena marginata

Do you accidentally kill plants? Then the Dracaena marginata is for you. Minter calls this plant "indestructible" and explains that it does well despite the cold weather. Just make sure your potted plant has access to indirect light—it needs a north or east exposure.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Curious anthuriums

Add a little colour to your home with a Curious anthurium. This pretty flower comes in lush reds, burgundies, oranges and pinks. The newer varieties of anthuriums flower all year, says Minter, making this the perfect houseplant for every season. Anthuriums are very resilient. Minter says you can tell if a plant will do well indoors based on its leaves. A thick, dark green leaf means the plant is more resilient indoors, he explains.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Kentia

No house is complete without a palm! Minter says there are a few palm varieties that are very durable. The best is the Kentia, which Minter says is "spider-might resilient." But he also loves the raphis and bamboo palm. "These palms are a little bit more money and they don't grow quickly, but the point is it's a lifetime plant," he says.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Phalaenopsis orchid

Oh orchids, so beautiful but so temperamental. Despite their reputation, Minter says orchids are a great winter houseplant. You just have to be willing to nurture them. "Misting the foliage with warm water and just keeping some level of moisture in amongst the roots is all you really have to do," he explains.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Philodendron monstera

There are quite a few varieties of Philodendron that will add some much needed green to your home. But the monstera is the best, Minter says. "It really is so bulletproof." The monstera is easy to grow and can actually help remove common toxins from your home.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: FlickrCC/Ahmad Fuad Morad Credits: Canadian Living

7 resilient winter houseplants

Medinilla

The Medinilla is a show-stopping flower. "If somebody is looking for that something extra that is really phenomenal, that's really it," Minter says. The Medinilla has pink flowers, perfect to brighten up a kitchen. This houseplant is a bit difficult to find, but it's worth it because it's so easy to take care of. All these beautiful flowers were provided by Humber Nurseries Limited. Check out these tips on how to keep your houseplant alive this winter.

By: Alyssa Ashton Source: Shawn Patille of Humber Nurseries Ltd. Credits: Canadian Living


Flowers are full of health benefits. Add a few of these healing plants to your indoor or outdoor garden.
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Gardening

4 tips to keep your houseplant alive during the winter

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