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Winter Houseplant Survival

Winter Houseplant Survival

Well, y’all, we did it! We made it to March, and spring is in sight! We aren’t necessarily out of the winter woods yet, but I’m focusing on the future and warmer weather to come!

One of the reasons that I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures is for my houseplants. I have close to two dozen plants these days, but it hasn’t been easy to keep them thriving this winter.

I am happy to report that I only lost two along the way. One was a parlor palm that I think just got too cold, and one was a polka dot plant, and I’m not totally sure what happened to her.

Polka dot plants are infamous for being drama queens. They literally faint when they need to be watered, but this gal just never returned like she usually would. But overall, I think I survived the winter reasonably well. I can’t wait to get spring sprung so I can get the kids fertilized and a couple in new pots.

Having never cared for this many plants at one time, and never for this long, it’s been a fun and interesting learning experience. Learning about which plants like to be watered often — looking at you, prayer plant, and which ones would prefer you keep that watering-can to yourself — ahem, snake plant, has been a whole new thing for me.

Winter makes this process even more difficult. In some cases, it’s been incredibly difficult and frustrating, but I keep moving along. I am lucky in that I have a huge front window that is north facing. That makes for pretty much ideal light conditions for just about any plant you can think of. Most of my living room is filled with bright, indirect light all day. That has made my life (and the lives of my plants) a lot easier. However, that big ol’ window also allows more cold in, so I’ve had to battle with that a bit. Winter also means less moisture in the air, and — fun fact — a good portion of houseplants are actually tropical plants, so they need humidity to thrive. Lucky for me, I already owned a humidifier, so I have been able to run that, which is beneficial to both the plants and the people since we also need more moisture in the winter!

I also found that investing in a moisture meter was a Godsend. That, coupled with a thermometer that also tracks the humidity levels, has helped me so much!

Once a week or so, I go around and check the moisture levels of all my plants. I make sure to clean the tines with peroxide after each plant. Then I gather up everyone who needs a drink and put them in the bathtub, and give them all a good soaking all at once. Just remember, no one likes a cold shower, so use a little chillier than lukewarm water to water your houseplants! This is also a good time to spray everyone down with diluted neem oil. Neem oil helps protect plants from fungus and pests. It also helps keep leaves shiny! Then they can stay in there and drain before going back to their respective homes. Using the bathtub also works well if you are a fan of bottom watering your plants. Just fill the tub with a few inches of water and then — everyone in the pool!

I will caveat this with a warning: the only time that I wouldn’t suggest doing this is if you happen to have a fiddle leaf fig. They are notorious for not liking being moved and are likely to drop to all their leaves if you do. So be sure to water that particular plant where they live.

I’m also looking forward to spring to get out plant hunting again. My current wish list includes a string of hearts, a fiddle leaf fig, a calathea white fusion, a ficus triangularis, a nerve plant, and a butterwort. So, if you happen to know where I can find any of these in the area, please let me know!

Now that you know everything you never needed to know about my houseplants, let’s chat about something else right quick.

Recently Donald Black stopped in our office because he wants to send out a thank you. In February, he received a Valentine’s Day card from Girl Scout Troops 62077 & 62078 in Montgomery. It seems these ladies sent out a bunch of Valentine’s to local veterans, and Donald wanted to express his appreciation. I also would like to do the same. This is just such a sweet idea, and I want to say thank you to those girlies! I’m sure that every veteran who received a Valentine appreciated it as much as Donald, and I’m happy that he brought it to our attention! So once again, thank you to Girl Scout Troops 62077 & 62078 for your super kind and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gifts from Donald, all the local veterans that you sent cards to and all of us at Webb Weekly!

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