How I Organise My Plants In Winter

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If you live somewhere warmish, then you might not need to move your plants depending on the season.

Here in the UK, I definitely DO.

A little disclaimer before we start: a few of the tips I mention are NOT best practice. Mostly re. keeping plants near radiators. And it’s true, it’s not great to keep plants near radiators.

But my house is teeny tiny. If I didn’t keep my plants near the radiators, I wouldn’t be able to have that many plant.

And also, some clever clogs decided that the best place to put the radiators was under the windows.

Plants like light, and therefore windows.

I’m yet to lose a plant the the ravages of the radiator, though I have a few that have crispy leaves. It’s the price they pay for having to live in my tiny house.

We’re going to go room by room, because, er, it’s my article and that’s the way I want to write it.

monstera leaf

Plants Living in the Bedroom Over Winter

This one:

Ctenanthe lubbersiana


See the curled leaves? She was thirsty, so I gave her a drink.

See the dead leaves? That’s from the spider plants that she secretly brought in and gave to everyone else.

I didn’t suspect her for ages (thought it was my Calathea whitestar, but she was just another victim), but then I realised that the spider mites had receded on all my plants but a little group (inc this one).

It wasn’t long before I found the culprit.

I’m still treating her, but it’s getting to the point that the treatment is as dangerous as the mites, so I may be fighting a losing battle, unless she can hold out till Spring. I’ll pop her outside to get some good light and hope some ladybirds turn up.

The bedroom is big, but it’s also quite cold, and east-facing, so the light isn’t that good in winter. It’s a shame, because there’s so much room. Plants only go in here if they can’t play nicely with others.

monstera leaf

Plants Living In The Office Over Winter

The office is west-facing, so it gets the best natural (though it’s not actually good light in winter).

It’s also small, warm, and where we hang our clothes to dry, so the humidity is normally between 45% and 60%.

The Velvet Touch is unhappy. Thrips and spider mites’ll do that to you, but I think they’re recovering.

This is just a few of the plants – the ones on my desk. I also have a couple of end tables covered in plants, a radiator cover, and a window sill. A quick count gives me…27.

It’s too many for such a tiny room, but a lot of them are larger specimens that live in the bedroom in summer or on the kitchen floor by the french windows. Far to draughty for that at the moment.

There’s quite a large radiator in the office, and I have a Monstera friedrichsthalii (basically an adansonii with no holes) that hangs uite close to the radiator, but apart from a couple of singed tips, he’s doing ok.

If I remember, I dry clothes on the radiators to dissipate the heat a bit. This isn’t recommended in a damp house, so I keep an eye on the humidity and use a dehumidifier if necessary.

monstera leaf

Plants That Live In The Hallway Over Winter

Hallways tend to be cold, so stick to plants that like the cold. I keep my succulents in the hallway because they can tolerate the cold happily, and they’re near a south-facing window.

It’s still not going to be great light (I mean, there’s a house next door blocking a lot of the sun) but it’ll do.

Plants That Live In The Bathroom Over Winter

Ideally, no one would live in the bathroom over winter. The light is ok, but it’s super cold. I like to keep the window open to get rid of any moisture.

But unfortunately, plants are a pain. I currently have my ZZ plant, Nepethes, and Croton in there.

The ZZ is in there because there’s no where else to put him, and he’s doing ok. It’s not ideal, but I’ll make it up to him in the summer.

The croton is in there because OF COURSE it has spider mites. Luckily I caught them early because with crotons it tends to be a matter of when, not if, when it comes to getting spider mites.

The Nepethes is just having a hard time, and the only time he’s really thrived for me has been when he’s been in the bathroom. This is a bit strange because they’re notoriously picky about water quality, but this guy doesn’t seem to mind tap water.

please excise the grim plant cleaning cloth

Downstairs plants

On the mantlepiece:

I keep one hoya (silver splash) Philodendrons micans, brasil, and squamiferum, and a neon pothos. It’s about six feet from an east-facing window and they’re…ok. There’s not enough light there, but if anyone starts to struggle I’ll move them under the grow lights.

On the windowsill:

Just bear in mind that I don’t close the curtains in the living room. If you do, only put succulents between the curtain and glass, or you risk freezing your plants.

I keep my propagation here, and they’re all in leca. I have a Philodendron hastatum, a Philodendron golden dragon, a rhapidophora tetrasperma, and a couple of marantas. They’re all doing well.

The marantas were actually at deaths door when I put them in leca, and though they each lost a tonne of leaves, their roots look great.

monstera leaf

Under the growlights

I keep a variegated peace lily under my cheap Amazon growlight (this one). It’s fine, but it’s losing variegation. I’m not *that* bothered, but I’ll try to get it back in summer. It’s too big to fit under the good growlights.

I have an article on growlights here. The cheap grow lights are totally fine for maintaining plants over winter, but if you want good growth, you may need something stronger (unless you live somewhere that isn’t as dark as it is here).

I have four Fluval COB lights, two on each shelving unit. It’s currently out of stock on Amazon, and they’re a bit pricier than other lights, but they’re well worth it.

On one shelving unit I have Hoyas australi lisa, krinkle 8, Kerrii, Calatheas whitestar and zebrina (each with only a couple of leaves due to spider mites), and a Monstera Peru.

They’re all growing nicely.

On the other shelf I have a pink Syngonium, a Manjula pothos, and Calatheas lancifolia, musaica, and beauty star. Again, they’re doing ok.

I’m also rehabbing a plant that was dying at work. The prognosis is not good, but I’ll do my best.

In summer I switch out the plants under the growlights more frequently, but in winter they’re best for a lot of small plants.

monstera leaf

Plants That Spend Winter In The Kitchen

I don’t switch the kitchen plants up that much, since the light is ok, and it’s usually pretty warm and humid. The alocasia continue to grow in the window – the growth is small, and we’re down to a couple of leaves (apart from the dragonscale – that thing is putting out new growth like crazy), but we’ve not had total dormancy.

I recently got an Aerogarden to grow herbs, so I crowd any other succulents and my African violet around that to make the most of the light.

monstera leaf

Tips For Over Wintering House Plants

I have an indepth post about that here, but I’ll give you a few tips here to finish up.

  • Be extra careful with watering

Plants grow more slowly and therefore use less water in winter. It’s also colder so the water won’t evaporate as quickly.

That being said, be sure to regularly check your plants, especially those near radiators.

  • If your plant is growing, you can still fertilise it

An often repeated rule of house plant care is to never fertilise plants in winter. Whilst it’s broadly true that plants slow growth in winter, it will hugely depend on the conditions in your house.

Those of you with newer homes, grow light and humidifiers, may not notice any change in growth patterns at all over winter. If you think your plant needs fertilising, do it.

I personally don’t fertilise my plants in winter, however, I do water with aquarium water, so my plants won’t starve.

  • Keep your plants dust free and watch out for pests

This is best practice. I am terrible for letting my plants get dusty. I try to rotate the plants in my office so I can get to each one, since I tend to absentmindedly wipe them with my hoodie cuff when I’m working.

  • Let your water come up to room temperature

You don’t want to cold shock your plants. If you don’t have time, add in a bit of hot water, and mix it in.

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