Monday, March 10, 2014

Tending Houseplants in Winter

When we heat our homes in winter, our houseplants can suffer from the hot, dry air.  Most plants like humidity.  This winter, I took some extra steps to help my plants.

I set a tray of water close to the rosemary plant to put humidity in the air.  I bought a cute little vintage mister and tucked it into the windowsill corner next to the Norfolk pine.  I showed the children how to mist the pine and the rosemary, while avoiding the nearby jade plant who doesn't like water on its leaves. They love this little task. 

When there are small pieces of wet laundry or wet gloves, I lay them on the top of the radiator so the wetness evaporates right next to the plants.  In fact, I air-dry most of our laundry on drying racks to try to keep a comfortable humidity in the house.

So far, my plants are looking really good!  

Genevieve planted some dill seeds in December, which I thought were probably too old to sprout, but dang if those little seeds don't keep stubbornly growing!  I had told her they were her responsibility, but she has totally forgotten about them and I, for sheer joy of green, growing babies, have been watering them and turning their pot so they grow up straighter. 

I recall how my houseplants suffered through previous winters, and I'm pleased to see mine looking so healthy right now. Are your houseplants looking good?


BLD in MT said...

Our plants are looking quite happy--though we also dry our clothes in the air near them so they benefit from that moisture--that's not why we do it, but its a nice perk of the arrangement. I've got a new plant--a ficus--waiting at the library for a warm enough day to transport it home. I hear they are a bit tender about the cold and it certainly has been that. I can't help but tuck green things into the house in every space I think they could thrive. The more the merrier, I say.

jenny_o said...

Two stubs of plants here. Cats. Need I say more?

Yours, on the other hand, look fantastic! If the extra humidity helps THEM that much, think about what it must be doing for the humans in your house too!

Unknown said...

Your plants certainly do look healthier than mine... and I don't think I need an excuse to try and source a cute little vintage mister!!! Thanks for the reminder that I really should change my plant care regime according to the weather... I'm not the most green-fingered, although I'd love to be!

Lisa said...

Cats also prevent us from having any meaningful plant life.

Margo, did you get my email?

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Your plants are looking great.. Love the vintage miser..
My plants are looking pretty good too.. I try to remember to mist them occasionally.. I occasionally sit them in the bathtub and mist them with the shower.. They love it.. It just makes a mess , trying to dry the pots off,etc.

momma-lana said...

Mine have done very well this year even though it has been so cold and the house has been very dry at times. I have done nothing different so I really don't know why. A very tropical plant that usually drops most of it's leaves by now and then recovers outside in the spring is still looking great for no apparent reason. I have had a basil plant on my kitchen window sill that has been flavoring pastas that was actually a tiny seedling I found while doing fall cleanup outside. I tucked it into a small pot and is has fed us very well.

My husband made me a dolly many years ago that is 4 x 6 feet that I have full of pots and in my garage for the winter. On nice days we wheel it out, not easily as it is very heavy, and let them get some sun and water them. We have been doing this for years and I have many pots of geraniums that are like old friends now. Come spring they come back out and get cut back and fertilized and they are off and blooming again in just a few weeks. I offer the cuttings to friends or make more pots for our deck. I am just itching to get out there and get my hands dirty!

Margo said...

Judy, I let my kids do the plants-in-the-shower routine. They love that.

And Momma-lana, I think your dolly sounds so wonderful! I never knew that geraniums could just keep going like that. I thought maybe you could 2 years out them at the most. Well. I'm going to try overwintering some geraniums next year, AND add a basil plant to the indoors.

momma-lana said...

Margo-some of my old aunties have geraniums that they say belonged to the generation before them. I think that if you do some research there are interesting ways to overwinter them that I can not do in the south. I have heard of them being taken out of the soil and wrapped in newspapers and hung in the basement for the winter and other interesting ways. I know that my great aunts would not fuss over keeping them the way I do. They are just too practical for that!

jenny_o said...

Regarding the geraniums, my mother used to pot hers in the fall and put them on the windowsills, then put them back out in the ground when the snow was gone and the earth warmed up. I'm pretty sure she had the same ones for years. She probably cut them back at some point but I'm not sure when. If I didn't have cats, I would definitely have more plants, and geraniums would be the first ones I'd try. They were always so cheery-looking in the winter!

Unknown said...

Well done! Every year I try to bring in some houseplants, and every year I kill them. Perhaps it's a humidity issue?