Don't give up hope—your plants may be hibernating.

By Brooke Schuldt
Updated January 17, 2018

Being a plant parent in the spring and summer is really easy. The responsibilities are pretty simple: Just make sure your plant is watered and sitting in the appropriate amount of light.

But what a lot of plant owners don’t know is that once winter comes and the weather gets colder, your plant requires completely different care. Even though they're indoors and shielded from lower temperatures and potential snow, some houseplants go into hibernation, meaning that over-caring for them could cause them to wilt or die.

If you notice that your plant hasn’t grown in the past few months, or that it takes a bit longer to drink water, chances are your plant is powering down to conserve energy and combat winter conditions. Thankfully, caring for a sleeping plant is pretty simple.

Stay In The Sunlight, But Keep Your Plants Away From Heaters And Cold Drafts

While your plant is dormant, you want to keep its environment as consistent as possible, so make sure to move your plant away from drafty locations, like windows and doors, or overheated spots near heaters, radiators, and fireplaces. Sunlight is still important for most plants, but sunlight is scarce in the winter, so moving your plant to a bright spot may be challenging. Park your plant under a lamp outfitted with a plant light bulb if you can’t find any bright, sunny spots in your home this time of year.

Water Your Plants Way Less

Your plant still needs hydration during its winter nap, but it requires a lot less than it does during the warmer months. Overwatering can lead to rotting roots, and you can’t always rely on your usual indicators to tell you if your plant is thirsty. Because of lower humidity levels in the air, the surface soil will dry faster, making it not the most reliable way to check if water is needed. Dig a bit deeper to see if the soil underneath the surface is dry; if it is, you know it's time to water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or cold, though, as it could send the plant’s roots into shock.

Give Your Plants A Bath And Don’t Cut Leaves Or Repot Until The Temps Rise

Now is a great time to wash down your plant gently and remove and dust or dirt from its leaves. You’ll want to use room temperature water to avoid root shock. Also, avoid re-potting during this time of year. Your plants are using the season to rest up for spring and summer, so it's best not to uproot them from their resting place.