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Grow with KARE: Winter plant care

Keeping your plants thriving through the long winter.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Here are some useful tips to keep your houseplant thriving in the winter:

Watering

Most houseplants don't need as much water during the winter season.

Once a week test the moisture, if dry at 1 to 2 inches in depth, the plant needs water. Water thoroughly and allow the water to drain completely. Wait about a hour then dump any excess water that runs into the tray.

Fertilization

Houseplants need fertilizer when actively growing in the spring and summer.

During the winter, if you feed, dilute the fertilizer by at least 50%. In most of Minnesota you can begin increasing the percentage by late February.

Clean your plant leaves

When homes are closed up all winter, dust tends to accumulate on the leaf surfaces. Removing accumulated dust can help the plant breathe. Use a diluted solution of liquid dishwashing soap, at a ratio of three tablespoons of mild dish soap mixed with a gallon of room temperature water, then rinse with clean water. Bonus, a good cleaning will help wash away any pests.

Also, plants do well in the same temperatures that most of us like: warm days and cooler nights.

Keep away from cold drafts and vents

Houseplants prefer a humidity level of 40-50%. Misting houseplants does not raise humidity. Fill a large saucer with rocks and place the plant on them. Add water to a point not above the rocks to raise the humidity around the plant.

Wait until the plant is actively growing to repot.

Good luck with your plants!

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