Winter is a glorious time in the garden because it can be low-maintenance and high-yielding. If you live somewhere without frost, then it’s even more glorious! Many people think that with the colder temps we lose out on garden time but really there is so much to do.

Additionally, indoor plants need extra TLC in the winter with heaters drying out the air and sunshine diminishing. If you’re a plant lover, then there are plenty of things to keep up with during this chilly season. Things to keep in mind as you consider making adjustments are: sun exposure, soil moisture, wind, freezing temperatures and pests. No matter the challenge, there are some greenery maintenance tips for your needs. 

Here are some green thumb tips for your garden: 

1. Adjust Watering Schedules

First things first, it’s time to reevaluate how much water and sun your plants get. If you have a raised garden bed, then you will want to reduce how much you water or if you need to water at all to make up for rain, dew and overall retention of moisture in your beds. If you have any pots that can be moved, then consider trying to get some plants into the sun more if you can. 

2. Over-Wintering

Some plants are hardy enough to withstand cold temperatures and even get sweeter with some chill on them. For example, carrots and brussels sprouts both develop higher sugar content after a frost. Consider which plants you can keep in the ground through winter for a great spring harvest as opposed to a mid-winter harvest. 

3. Transplant Herbs 

While some plants can handle the cold, some simply cannot. For more fragile herbs that like to be cozy (think basil, cilantro and thyme), transplant those into pots that can go indoors on a windowsill. Water them like you do in more temperate weather, and watch them thrive in a sunny but covered in-home area. 

4. Keep Up With Compost 

During the cold months you want to keep the microbes in your compost alive, so you need some protection for them. Similar to mulching, add layers of sawdust, newspaper and straw to your compost to protect it from harsh weather. 

5. Create a Floating Row Cover

If you have an outdoor garden and want to keep at it all year, then consider building a row cover, which is a protective structure that covers your plants. You can use plastic sheets and some PVC pipe to create hoops, protecting your plants from pests, wind and direct frost. 

Here are some green thumb tips for your houseplants:

1. Water Less

This may seem odd, but plants slow their growth in winter because of the reduction in sun exposure. Take note of your soil dampness, making sure there’s some moisture about an inch down. Over-watering can cause root rot. Be sure to avoid this. 

2. Humidify 

You’re not the only one benefitting from a humidifier. Plants do too! The overall moisture in the air will help keep them from drooping and help them adjust to the fluctuations in cold temperatures. 

3. Keep Indoor Temps Steady

Long exposures to either hot or cold can impact your houseplants but so can fluctuating temperatures. If you can afford it, then try to keep the house at a steady temperature, even when traveling. This way your plants don’t have to work so hard to stay in their healthy state. 

4. Move Them

Time to redecorate! With winter months and the shifting of the sun, shift your plant babies too. Find the sunniest spots, and place your houseplants there. It’s easy to forget about how much benefit the sun can have, but it will be life-changing (or life-preserving) for your plants. 

For the passionate plant lover, winter can be a fun time to dance with the seasons and see how we need to adjust. You may be surprised by how well your plants do, whether indoors or outdoors, and how much just a few tweaks here and there can keep both veggies and fiddle leaves happy. 

How do you maintain your plants during the winter months? How do you keep them thriving all year round?

Illustration via Marren Parham, Darling Issue No. 24

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