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Houseplants: Winter Prep

Fall is upon us & that means getting your plants ready for the winter months!

 

Light

In Southern Manitoba, our daylight hours in the winter average around 8 hours per day. Your tropical and succulent plants were most likely grown in perfect greenhouse conditions (lots of light coming in from every direction), then had a lovely summer basking in 12-16 hours of day light ( yes! our longest day is 16 hours!).  In their natural habitat they are used to roughly 12 hours of daylight year round. That means it's time to move your plant babies to the brightest spot in your home. This will help reduce stress and keep them healthy during those long winter months.

You may also consider getting a grow bulb to keep your favorite plants in tiptop shape!


Water

Water and light go hand in hand, less light = less frequent waterings. Since your plant is photosynthesizing (using the suns energy to create food and oxygen) less, it requires less care. This means less water, and no fertilizer, winter fertilizing can chemically "burn" the roots of your plant and even kill it (unless you are using grow lights).


Maintenance

Pruning. You may have noticed some of the leaves on your plant turning yellow, don't panic! This is a natural occurrence. Plants are all about being efficient, so less light means, less photosynthesis which means that some of those extra leaves it grew over the summer just won't be needed anymore.  Cut these leaves off and try to find the brightest place for you plant to hang out during the winter.

Drafts. Most houseplants don't like them and some are so sensitive to drafts that they may loose many leaves or even perish! Keep your plants in a steady temperature environment all winter. That means no old windowsills, away from heating sources and exterior doors.

Pothos 'Satin'

Lush, vining and easy to care for!

Care: If you are after the lush, jungle look then this is your plant!  'Satin' variety has incredible matte-like leaves resembling velvet. Native to South America, love humidity but forgiving if you forget an occasional watering. Allow first inch of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Monstera Deliciosa

Care: A shop favourite! Popular in the 70s this beauty is a blast from the past. A great feature plant, it's sure to please with it's dark green foliage and whimsical, long tendril like stems.  Fast growing, and naturally vining. These plants can handle a bit of neglect and like to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect, medium-bright light.

Level: Beginner

 

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Staghorn Fern

A beautiful plant with fronds in the shape of stag horns. In their natural habitat you can find them living in trees along side bromeliads.

Care: An epiphytic fern. This fuzzy-leafed beauty can be left potted or mounted on the wall.  They love lots of air flow and prefer humid air. Mist this beauty as it absorbs moisture through both it's roots and fronds. Allow to dry out slightly between waterings.

Light: Indirect/bright, filtered light.

Level: Intermediate

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Alocasia

Common Names: African Mask, Elephant Ear

Care: A striking, large leafed plant, foliage can grow up to 24 inches long! This dramatic-looking beauty needs a bit more of your attention.  Prefers room-temperature and hotter and does not like cool/drafty areas. Loves humidity but do allow soil to dry between waterings. Perfect for a bright bathroom.

Light: Indirect/bright, no direct light ( such as south facing ) as leaves will burn.

Level: Intermediate

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Zamioculcas

A favorite beginner plant! Bright, glossy, green leaves.

Care: This beauty is native to Africa and doesn't mind if you forget an occasional watering. Likes to spread its branches out and will grow to approx. 5 feet in both height and width. Likes to be kept on the dry side. Allow first 2-3 inches of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Calathea 'medallion'

Painted-like foliage with pink undersides make this a stunning addition to any plant collection. Calathea's love humidity and should be placed in a bathroom or a room with a humidifier. Leaves will dry and turn brown if kept in a low humididty space.

Care: Water regularly, keep moist but not saturated. Do not allow to dry out.

Light: Prefers indirect medium/low light. East or bright north facing window is best.

Level: Intermediate

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Birdsnest Fern

Care: An epiphytic fern. This glossy-leafed beauty can be left potted or mounted on the wall (similar to a staghorn fern). Perfect for a room which receives less light or a shaded corner. Prefer humid air. Allow to dry between waterings.

Light: Indirect/shaded, medium-low light.

Level: Beginner

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Pothos 'Moonlight'

Bright, lemon-lime color foliage.

Lush, vining and easy to care for!

Care: If you are after the lush, jungle look then this is your plant!  'Moonlight' variety has semi-gloss, bright leaves. Native to South America, it loves humidity but forgiving if you forget an occasional watering. Allow first inch of topsoil to dry out between waterings.

Light: Indirect Bright-Medium. Adapts to lower light conditions.

Level: Beginner

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Sansevieria

Common names: snake plant, mother-in-law's tongue.

A perfect starter plant, Sansevierias are low maintenance houseplants that are very good air purifiers, removing toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene form the air.

Care:Water moderately in spring/summer and less in fall/winter. Can dry out for 2 weeks.

Light: Prefers brightbut will do well in medium-low light. East, west or bright north facing window is best.

Level: Beginner

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tradescantia 'tricolor'

A beautiful, trailing plant with striking variegated soft pink, fuchsia , cream and green leaves. Easy care, likes Bright to Medium light (south/west facing window is best). Can dry out a little in between watering. This makes a wonderful sharing plant as it's a vigorous grower and easy to propagate!