Owning your first and maintaining them through the winter
There is no better time than the present to own your first houseplant. In 2020 the popularity of houseplants hit the roof as the UK and the world had to live their lives behind closed doors. Being at home all day made indoor gardening very appealing. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me recently to say that caring for indoor plants has given their life routine and structure in a very confusing time. I’m so happy to hear that indoor plants are helping people’s mental health and bringing some joy into people’s lives. Picking the right houseplant for you can seem stressful but houseplants are here to do quite the opposite by turning your home into a more relaxed and welcoming space.
Below I will do my best to help you get started on your plant parenting journey and guide you through some winter care tips for your new plant babies.
I won’t lie to you, my first house plant was a cactus and I killed it (oops) this is because I genuinely thought they didn’t need watering. So after 6 months of no water my cactus died. Cacti are a very good choice for a first time plant owner but there’s two things I would ask yourself:
- Can I provide them with 6+ hours of bright sun every day?
- Can I remember to water them once every 4-6 weeks?
If the answer is yes, a cactus is a wonderful choice to get you started on your plant journey.
Hard to kill plants
There are lots of houseplants out there that are labelled ‘hard to kill’ or ‘un-killable plants’ which can be true. There’s a few houseplants that are true survivors no matter how much you neglect them. Some houseplants really do need very little upkeep and will thrive in almost any temperature, light and humidity environments. Let me give you some inspiration on my personal favourites that I think would make any first time plant parent jump for joy!
The snake plant has over 50 different types of species to choose from and they all are very easy to care for. Snake plants are famous for being low light tolerant and will happily fill up a dark corner or a living room. They are also one of the most recommended bedroom plants due to their air-purifying abilities. They like their soil to completely dry out before watering again. Watering once every 4 weeks in the summer and once every 6 weeks in the winter will be enough for the snake plant to thrive.
The zz plant or also known as the Zanzibar Gem is an easy care indoor plant. Their luscious dark leaves will hold water for long periods of time so even if the plant’s soil dries out completely they will continue to survive. You can place the zz plant in a drafty hallway, cold conservatory or dark landing and the plant will continue to survive. The zz plant is a hardy, unstoppable plant that is perfect for beginners and forgetful waterers.
Cast iron plant:
The cast iron plant has made a very good reputation for itself. It is categorised as a winter plant, hard to kill plant and pet safe plant. The cast iron plant will be happy in lower/medium lighting and will prefer the soil to stay on the drier side. If you start to notice brown or yellowing leaf edges this is most commonly caused by over watering or too much sunlight. The cast iron plant prefers to be kept out of bright light.
Tips to help your plants survive the winter
Most indoor plants are from lovely tropical climates such as the Caribbean, South America or South East Asia. As you can imagine these countries are warm and humid all year round. The best way to care for your plants is by imitating their natural habitat. Temperatures of between 20°C- 25°C is where your indoor plants will most likely thrive. A very common sign that your plant could be cold is if they start to curl their leaves. However, if your home is on the warmer side the leaf curling could also be a sign of under-watering. I’d recommend placing your indoor plants in a warm part of the home away from any drafts that could cause cold stress or radiators that could cause their foliage to dry out too much.
In the Winter most indoor plants will drop a few leaves and go into dormancy, meaning they won’t need nearly as much water compared to the growth season between March-October. During the dormant season your watering schedule can be reduced. This will vary depending on each plant – for example the dumb cane, poths, zz plants and cast iron plant might only need a small drink every 2-3 weeks. The best way to tell if your plant is ready for a drink is by sticking your finger into the first 2 inches of soil to see if it is dry.
Getting the humidity right in your home can benefit you and your plants. Most indoor humidity levels sit between 40%-50%, however most indoor plants prefer humidity levels of 60%. As the central heating is turned on you may notice that your plant’s leaves begin to turn brown and crispy. This is because the central heating is drying out the air in your home and your plants are not getting enough humidity. There are so many ways to increase the humidity in your home. You can mist your plants every other day, use a humidifier, use a pebble tray underneath their pot or for the humidity loving plants (eg: the calathea family) you can palace them in a bathroom.
The good news is almost every indoor plant comes from a tropical forest where they don’t receive as much light as you might think. Think “rainforest” where the winds are blowing and the plants at the bottom receive periodic light from the rustling of the trees. It may surprise you to know that many indoor plants are low light tolerant and will not fuss if there isn’t much sunlight. Indoor plants like palms, snake plants, monsteras and calatheas are perfect for the winter months where there is less sunlight (if any at all).
I really hope this post has given you the confidence to start your own indoor plant collection. Winter care can be tricky so please don’t worry if your plant is overall looking a big sad. I promise you they will perk up when the spring arrives and put out beautiful new growth. All plants mentioned in this post can be found at pointlessplants.com. If you have a plant care question please feel free to message us on instagram at pointless_plants. We also do a plant care Q&A here every Monday night and also post helpful tips and tricks on caring for your plant babies.