PlantTherapy: Time to Winterize

PlantTherapy: Time to Winterize

Maxwell Ryan
Dec 22, 2005

Stay tuned for a continuation of last week's Christmas Tree posting. In the meantime, an important holiday message on the health of your apartment plants:

Those of you returning late from the parties every night this week may find an unpleasant surprise in the condition of your plants come Saturday morning. With the heaters kicked up and sunlight hours getting less, the other living things in your apartment, your plants, will wilt and dry up right before your very eyes (or behind your back, whichever is most convenient for them).

If you initially bought with this in mind, or have been following fashionable plant trends, you may already have a window full of cacti and succulents. They do very well with fluctuations in heat and humidity.

However if you have a collection of plants that were chosen for their ability to withstand low light, you may have problems in the winter months.

Many low-light plants that are popular in NYC are 'tropical' and like warmth all year round. Window drafts are their nemesis, so make sure that there are no windows cracked open to give them sudden cold gusts. Your plants might be okay with less light (many varieties thrive in tropical forest shade, anyways) but they also need humid air.

If you have a large tray that can be filled with pebbles and water, you can set your plant pots on this and the evaporating water will rejuvenate your plants. Some people choose to just spray their plants, and this also can help. A small room humidifier also does a great job. One other option is to enclose your plant in clear cellophane, like what a florist may wrap flowers with. You can staple it and make a makeshift hood for you plant, creating a humid microclimate.

If you want to help them along with the diminishing amount of sun, you may also want to get a grow light to help them through the winter.

A thoughtful holiday gift for your apartment-dwelling plant lover:
These links are all from –

Good, general-use grow light, great for helping one houseplant or a 2'x2' cluster of small plants.

A good timer to regulate the daylight cycle.

And here is a link for more information on starting you off choosing and using lights to grow indoor plants.

gift ideas from the Times.

Matt N. (not Maxwell)

(Photo: Imapix)

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