How Not To Kill Your Houseplants In The Winter
The Debrief: What with no light, dryness from central heating and frost outside on the ground, your carefully curated houseplant arrangement doesn't stand a chance this winter. Or does it? Instagram plant faves geo_fleur give us some tips.
One of the sad realities about being a house-proud millennial is that, come winter, all your carefully curated, beautifully arranged houseplant 'features' will die futile death due to you not having enough knowledge to keep them alive when it's cold and dark outside.
Do you know what though guys, houseplants are expensive. Especially when you get them from very cool nurseries simply because they happen to have a devastatingly attractive gardener that works there (The Nunhead Gardener, thank me later). So, we're here to help make sure that this Christmas is as merry as can be and doesn't spell curtains for your spider plants, your aloe veras, your ferns, hell, even your cacti aren't safe from winter's cold dead grasp.
WATCH: Nik Southern, Founder of Grace and Thorn, Tells Us How To Look After Our Plants
That's where the nice people over at trendy botanical stylists geo-fleur come in. They've agreed to help us out and give you a few tips on how to help your plant friends #thrive this winter. Over to geo-fleur's Sophie....
How do I know if my plants aren't happy?
'Leaves dropping, yellowing of the leaves.... These are all signs of problems or stress.' Says Sophie.
So, what's the most common winter-based query you guys hear?
'Basically, people asking what plants will survive the cold.' Although, somewhat ironcially, she says most people actually kill their houseplants in winter by overwatering and getting them too hot! 'It's by having their heating too high.' She explains. 'That and watering too much to compensate for the cold.'
Pic: @geo_fleur Instagram
Ummmm so watering. I thought I had to water the plants all the time. Is that not the case?
Nooooo sirree. Chill out on the watering. Especially in the winter. 'Most of the common houseplants need the same amount throughout the year,' warns Sophie. EXCEPT, she says, in January and February when they are coming into the 'growth season'. Which is a lot less sexy and sci-fi than it sounds and actually just means the time of year when plants begin to think about growing again.
All those plants currently out on my balcony, giving my 'terrace' an 80's Miami vibe - what should I do with them?
'Bring them in!' Says Sophie. 'Don't let them freeze!'
If you live in dungeon (aka a mouldy basement flat) what can I do about the lack of light sitaution?
'There are certain synthetic lighting systems which are mostly used for growing seeds or propogating.' Advises Sophie. Don't worry if that sounds very technical and scary though. 'IKEA do a great lamp that you could hang over some of your plants if you feel they aren't getting enough light.' Here's a link to that light chaps. It's £27 and even you could install it.
Is there anything else I can do?
'Feed your plants!' Sophie says. Not like, with a Big Mac but instead with plant food - specialist indoor plant fertiliser to be exact. geo-fleur sell a kit.
My house is damp. And it's worse in winter. How is this going to affect my plants?
There's actually a bunch of plants that do A-OK in a damp house. 'Plants that like to be kept moist such as ferns, fittonia and oxalis triangularis are great for damp houses,' Says Sophie. 'They will thrive better.' Watch out for your cacti though as they're more keen on a dry environment.
Pic: @geo_fleur Instagram
What about the varying temperatures? My house is like a zillion degrees when I'm there and the heating's on or below freezing when I'm not. There is no inbetween.
'Most house plants are rather hardy but won't like a cold draft.' Warns Sophie. 'Don't leave them next to a window that's constantly open (or is rubbish as a draft stopper) as the cold winter air will harm them.' When it comes to the heat problem, just move them away from radiators.
If mine have already died and I want to buy some more, what are some better choices which are particularly good for cold, damp, low lit conditions?
'Sanseveria and the ZZ Plant are totally hardy.' Says Sophie. 'They will survive these conditions and they thrive on neglect.'
The gang at geo-fleur have worked closely with Instagram this year to help create the first #InstaGiftGuide to help you chose actually interesting presents for your nearest and dearest. 'I can't thank them enough,' Sophie says. 'It's an amazing outlet to reach directly to our customers.'
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Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating