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An Expert Guide To Taking Care Of House Plants In Winter

Top tips for keeping plants happy and healthy

As any plant owner will know, it can be a delicate balancing act, taking care of those plant babies.

Too much, or too little water can spell disaster for a house plant as can an unsuitable location or environment. It's all the more difficult in winter as growth rates slow and you need to switch up your care routine to keep them happy and healthy. 

Colin Agnew, Community Parks Supervisor at Belfast Botanic Gardens in Northern Ireland, knows a thing or two about taking care of plants. Here, he shares his top tips for minding your indoor greenery through the winter months.

Water sparingly

Only water when the soil surface is dry at this time of the year and avoid the temptation to overfeed.  A plant may wilt and lose its turgidity if overwatered and they seldom recover when sodden. It is a good idea to add a weak solution of Phostrogen or seaweed feed as both are nicely balanced with essential nutrients.

Consider location

Houseplants can be fussy and temperamental, just like ourselves sometimes. They don’t appreciate a cold draft and although they don’t all require direct sunlight, they will perform better if light levels are good. Natural light is always best, so use the porch or windowsill when you can.

Potting up

The growth in most species of popular house plants is limited during the winter months. It tends to be a dormant period. Don’t consider repotting until spring when daylight is longer, root growth is better, and a regular feeding programme can be resumed.


A free-draining compost is essential in order to guarantee happy plants. Replenish dry plants with water then leave them until they dry out again before repeating the process.

Top plants: 
Colin shares his favourite pot plants of choice for year-round greenery

Aglaonema (Silver Queen)

Silver or white variegated leaves are great. This is one of the few house plants that will thrive under poor light conditions. It has an upright growth habit making it suitable for most household positions where you want to add a touch of greenery.

Syngonium podophyllum (Arrow Head plant)

This plant is very decorative, it has shining green arrow-shaped leaves with a lighter pattern in the juvenile stage of growth. It has a trailing growth habit, making it suitable for small pots and trellises.

 Tips courtesy of Discover Northern Ireland.

Main image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

 READ MORE: Put These 6 Easy-To-Keep Plants In Your Bedroom And You'll Sleep Better At Night