The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter

icon_usefultips_quotation_01@3x.png

Winter can be a challenging time for houseplants, but with some basic equipment and a little knowledge, you can help them thrive.

icon_usefultips_quotation_02@3x.png

Even though they live in a climate-controlled environment, houseplants suffer from the wintertime blues almost as much as we do. Between the lower light levels and the reduced indoor humidity, houseplants can struggle over the winter. The good news is that with the right equipment and a little knowledge, you can help your plants overcome these challenges.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter

Most houseplant species come from tropical regions with humidity levels between 40–50%. Home humidity levels in the winter are usually around 10–20%, which is bad news for plants. Dry air puts roots at risk of drying out and makes plants more vulnerable to pests like spider mites. If you want your houseplants to stay lush and green through the darkest, coldest parts of the year, investing in a few key items will keep them thriving and healthy. Read on to learn about the seven best pieces of equipment you can buy for houseplants to help get them through the winter.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
1. Humidifier

There are three types of humidifiers: evaporative, ultrasonic, and warm mist. Evaporative-mist humidifiers can be a little louder than the other two types, so if noise is an issue, you may want to steer clear. On the other hand, an evaporative humidifier cannot oversaturate the air, so there is no risk of making a room too humid if you forget to turn the humidifier off. A warm-mist humidifier uses a heating element to vaporize water, but the hot element uses more electricity and can be dangerous for children or pets.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter

When purchasing a humidifier, you should consider the size of the room you want to humidify and for how long of an interval you want the humidifier to run. All units will come with a listing for their run time and volume capacity—so make sure you know the size of the room or rooms you want to humidify. Ideally, you’ll want to place a humidifier in the room where you have the most plants.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
2. Hygrometer

A humidifier is most useful when used in tandem with a hygrometer. This simple, inexpensive device will tell you the humidity level in your home, making it easier to determine the best humidifier settings. There are other DIY methods of testing indoor humidity, but a hygrometer is by far the most efficient and accurate.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
3. Space Heater

If your home heating is uneven or extremely inefficient, you may prefer to only heat the room where your plants are located. A small space heater can help you keep your plants’ room at 70-80 degrees during the day and 65-70 degrees at night, which is what most houseplants prefer. One thing to note, however, is that if you are using a space heater, you will definitely want to use a humidifier to offset the drier air in the room you designate as the “grow room.”

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
4. Watering Can

It’s not a fancy digital device, but a good watering can is just as important as any other piece of winter plant care equipment. A nice, long spout will make it easier to pour water precisely where you want it to go. Most plants are a little picky about the quality of water you give them, and prefer rain water. If rainwater isn’t available, the next best thing is to leave tap water in the can out overnight and let the chlorine and fluorine evaporate before watering your houseplants.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
5. Moisture Meter

With all the emphasis on dry indoor air, it might come as a surprise that houseplants actually need to be watered less in the winter season. The short days of winter mean that plants get less sunlight, resulting in slower plant growth and less water uptake by roots. You can use a fingertip inserted into the soil in a pot to check for moisture, but an aquameter eliminates any guesswork. Take care not to overwater plants in the winter; root rot is one of the most common causes of houseplants failing. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and water less.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
6. Air Deflector

Depending on the location and orientation of your air vents, you may want to invest in some air deflectors. This simple plastic shield is placed over vents that normally blow warm air directly onto indoor plants, re-routinng the air so that it spares the plants from a direct hit. This will keep your plants from drying out quickly or getting their leaves dried out too quickly.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
7. LED Grow Lights

When the days grow shorter, the first thing you should do is to move plants into a spot with a south-facing window. If this isn’t an option, the next best thing is to supplement your houseplants’ light with some LED grow lamps. Plants rely on two different spectrums of light: one for growth and the other for photosynthesis. Unlike regular light bulbs, specialized LED grow lights supply a combination of these red and blue spectrums. An inexpensive LED grow lamp gives the type of light plants need to thrive without generating much heat or using a lot of electricity. This type of plant light is so popular that many people use them year-round to keep plants in parts of their home that don’t get enough light otherwise.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter
Some Extra Care

While not a device you can purchase, wintertime houseplant care should also include a little common sense and some extra pampering for your leafy green housemates. Clustering plants close together will help them maintain more moisture, with or without a humidifier. Keeping a flat tray filled with pebbles and topped off with water underneath potted plants that love high humidity can help to humidify individual plants.

The 7 Best Pieces of Equipment for Houseplants During Winter

Misting with a hand-held mister will hydrate thirsty plants that have thick, smooth foliage. You can also use a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe the dust off leaf surfaces to help them absorb all the light they can. While you’re at it, check the undersides of leaves for mites or scale insects, and treat any you find with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.

While it can be tempting to give slow-growing plants a dose of fertilizer during the winter months, resist the urge. Houseplants are unlikely to grow much in the colder months, so take the opportunity to give them a rest. With a little extra care and attention, your houseplants can emerge from winter looking lush and healthy.