Keep Your Succulents Alive With These Tips!

Having plant troubles? Look no further and read below for tips to keep your room green and plentiful!

Grae Stockhausen, Features Section Editor

Unfortunately, the winter months are just a few weeks away, and with the exciting parts of winter like snow and the holiday season, a deep feeling of fear settles in the hearts of plant owners. Winter zaps the life out of all houseplants even if they’re all tucked up nicely inside. Precautions must be taken with these little green lovelies as they require attention and a little extra loving while they watch the green turn to white outside. 

Houseplants are very popular currently, and for a good reason. They bring light and life to a room and make it look more comfortable and lived in. Taking care of them can be a hobby to some, while a chore to others. Houseplants are very finicky and can be difficult to take care of if you’re not sure how to properly tend to them. 

Indoor plants are normally kept in clay or plastic pots. The appeal of plastic is almost always due to its look, but clay pots can be much more attractive if you paint or add accessories to them. Clay was the first type, and is favored for its good drainage and porosity. The excess moisture from overwatering plants, which is a common mistake in plant ownership, seeps through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot, which is necessary for a healthy plant. The porous sides of the clay also permit air to reach the plant’s roots. 

One of the most basic needs for houseplants is air supply, due to its importance in photosynthesis. Do be mindful of leaving them in front of open windows or over vents though, as some plants will drop leaves if exposed to drafts. Some plants will also need a more humid environment, which can be difficult to provide them if you keep them out in the open. Plants that prefer humid air can be put in large glass cabinets if you have multiple high-humidity demanding plants or large glass containers around individual plants. A good majority of plants are fine with low humidity though, but if your plants are drying up, then give them a spritz and maybe invest in a humidity cage for them.

When potting your plants, the soil that you give them is very important. The soil used is far from plain dirt, it’s made up of three main components, sand, clay, and humus. Sand makes the soil porous so that water can easily drain, while clay holds the soil together and solidifies it. The humus content gives nutrients necessary for plant growth and adds to the soil’s ability to retain moisture.

Though the nutrients in the soil shouldn’t be the only nutrients that the plant is getting, much of compostable food waste can be added to the soil to help the plants grow healthy and strong. Crushed eggshells can be added to the soil for lowering acidity and adding calcium, and banana peel can be added to add potassium. Use coffee grounds for nitrogen, while green tea can be added to acidify if that is an issue for your soil. Unscented Epsom salts for adding magnesium and sulfur, and wood ashes to increase the alkalinity of the soil. 

It’s advisable to add these extra nutrient-rich options to your soil when repotting your plants. Do not repot your houseplants frequently though, as the extra room will make the plant focus on root growth instead of leaf growth. Shift your plant to a pot that is only one size larger or less. Most plants are more than content when their roots are slightly crowded. 

Frequently, plant owners tend to overwater their plants, thinking it’s good for them. Spoiler alert, it isn’t. Overwatering plants can lead to water sitting and festering in the soil, near the roots. This leads to mold growth, killing the plant- and if it gets bad enough- expels spores into the air. 

Giving your plants too much water is also one of the main reasons houseplants die in winter months, as they go “dormant” and stop growing as much due to a lack of light. Use less fertilizer as well, the plants will thank you when they rejuvenate back in the spring. When watering, use half as much water and make it warm water to keep the plants warm. Be sure to also keep the humidity up in your home, for both humidity-loving plants and not. Winter months are notorious for getting dry in the air and plants feel the effects of it too. 

The lack of light can become a serious issue, especially when there are now only eight hours of sunlight available. Give your plants a bath and wipe all the dust off with a warm towel, rag, or paper towel. The cleanliness of the leaves can directly affect the photosynthesis rate. As well as that, if the plants are placed in a low-light environment and need a little extra TLC from light, look into a grow light or LED grow light. They can be found in most plant stores or online in many places. Set it up and watch your plants thrive. 

Each plant is different so make sure you accommodate them all and have a good schedule for your little green babies. Keep your succulents warm this winter!