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The winter can be challenging for indoor tropical houseplants that thrive in hot, humid environments. While our houseplants do not experience the true dormancy of outdoor deciduous plants (plants that drop all their leaves at some point in the year), they can enter a period of slowed growth known as “quiescence.” During this time, they require adjusted care to stay happy and healthy. After keeping houseplants for many winters and making my share of mistakes, I want to share the knowledge I’ve gained about their winter care needs in this episode.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [04:05] Dormancy vs quiescence
  • [05:47] Why winter is a great time to explore your inner quiescence
  • [06:25] #1 The light levels are going to change
  • [07:14] Why some plants might have more light availability during winter (exception to the rule)
  • [08:29] Few things to do to help your plants survive the winter when there is less light available
  • [10:13] #2 Your houseplants are going to hate your heaters
  • [12:18] Tips for dealing with dry heat
  • [15:05] Where can you find quality products for your indoor and outdoor planting needs?
  • [16:43] Looking for unique and soothing chimes as a holiday gift?
  • [18:48] #3 Winter is the time that pests like to show up
  • [19:51] How to deal with plant pests
  • [21:41] #4 Fertilize if you see new growth
  • [23:28] I just got a Monstera Thai constellation!
  • [24:26] Bonus Tip #1: Don't freak out that much about dropping leaves
  • [25:36] Bonus Tip #2: If you’re dying, force bulbs inside!
  • [27:14] Key insights you can learn to experience quiescence in your life!


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1. Light Levels Will Change

Depending on where your plants sit in relation to windows, the amount of light they receive is likely to change during the winter. In general, the volume of light decreases as the days get shorter. However, there is an exception. If you have plants in front of windows that are usually shaded by trees in the warmer months, they may actually get more sunlight exposure in the winter when the trees lose their leaves!

Here are some tips to make sure your plants get the light they need:

• Clean Windows

Give your windows a good wipe down so every bit of available light can shine through clearly to your plants.

• Use Grow Lights  

Supplement natural light with artificial plant grow lights like Soltech Aspect™ LED Growlight. They come in various styles at many price points to work for any setup and budget, so you don’t have to worry about finding the right one.


2. Houseplants Will Hate Your Heaters

Forced air heating is very drying and tough on tropical plants. Most homes drop into the 20-30% humidity range in winter, much lower than what most houseplants prefer! Forced heat from furnaces, baseboard heaters, and radiators wreaks havoc on houseplants in a few ways:

It Zaps the Humidity Out of the Air

Plants prefer warm and humid conditions. Heaters suck all the moisture out and create a dry environment.

Soil Can Also Dry Out Faster  

You might need to water more often than normal if soil is drying out rapidly. Don't cut back on water by default. Pay attention to your plant's needs.


Tips for Dealing with Dry Heat:

  • Use humidifiers to add moisture back into the air. Your plants—and you—will be happier!
  • Be mindful of where heat is blasting directly onto plants. Move them away from radiators/vents if possible.
  • Clean leaves often to remove heating duct dust.
  • Tape up drafty windows if they are causing cold drafts on plants.


3. Winter is the Time Pests Like to Show Up

Unfortunately, pests tend to thrive when plants are stressed. Lower light and dry air can weaken plants, making them more pest prone. Stay vigilant about regularly checking the undersides of leaves so you can catch invaders early. Keeping plants consistently cared for will also help deter pests.

Plants That Aren't in Ideal Conditions Sometimes Invite Pests More Easily

When growth slows down and conditions aren't optimal, pests see an opportunity to attack.


Tips to Combat Pests:

  • Have a consistent plant care routine where you check under leaves for any signs of bugs 1-2 times per week. It’s better to catch things early.
  • Provide proper moisture, humidity, and light to keep plants as healthy as possible. Remember: strong plants fend off pests better.
  • Have a houseplant first aid kit prepared with insecticidal soap, neem oil, etc. to treat any outbreaks quickly.


4. Fertilize If You See New Growth 

Contrary to some advice, you don't necessarily need to stop fertilizing over winter if plants are actively putting out new leaves and stems. Assess each plant individually.

Don't Go Off of Standard

If new growth emerges, plants are still metabolizing and benefiting from nutrients. Give them fertilizer to support development. 


Two Additional Tips!

• Don't Freak Out About Dropping Leaves

It's normal for some older leaves to turn yellow and drop when plants undergo a bit of dormancy. As long as it's not the entire plant dropping leaves, all is OK!

• If You're Craving Some Life, Force Flower Bulbs Inside

Bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhites easily sprout and bloom inside to deliver you some joy in the winter.


Key Insights

  • Just because your plants slow down doesn't mean you have to remove your plant care routine: In fact, spend special one-on-one moments with each plant to care for them and show your affection!
  • Invite some quiescence from yourself – take note from your plants: Get introspective. Embrace the slower pace and turn inward, reflecting like your plants quietly settling in for the winter season. Enjoy the time to recharge for spring.

I hope these winter plant care tips help you support the needs of your precious houseplant collection over the chilly months! Reach out if you ever have any other plant questions.




Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Espoma Organic

Make sure your plants are all set for the new season! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar-powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.

Wind River Chimes

This holiday season, bring more peace, serenity, and magic into your home with chimes. Wind River is a Virginia-based company creating premium handcrafted and hand-tuned wind chimes for over 35 years. If you are looking for a new way to grow joy in your life and find a moment of peace, a Wind River chime is the perfect addition to your home or garden. Plus, it's a perfect personalized gift for your loved ones this holiday season!

Visit and use code GROWINGJOY to receive free engraving on all Corinthian Bells wind chimes.



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