We’re right in the middle of winter up here in the Midwest. Which, for our plants, means that life is quite different than it was a few months ago. And the past few months I’ve also been making mental notes and moving my plant babies around to try to keep them all alive! I have put together Plant Lady Lessons Part II for you, and sharing what I’ve learned caring for my many plants. (Read Plant Lady Lessons I here) I did unfortunately lose a few since the seasons changed. RIP to my Rosemary. But I also propagated a few too! Current plant count in the Henesy House: 51.
> Winter air
By this time in the Midwest, all the plant life outside is dead. And all of the plant life inside is THURSTY in this dry winter air! Our skin, lips and hair are dryer in the Winter bc we’re all blasting the heat inside our homes. We run a humidifier as much as possible, but still the air is dry. For your plants, this means that their soil dries out much faster too! Those plant babies are probably much more thirsty than they were in the humid Summer air. So you have to pay a little more attention to them and water them more often.
> Winter sun
The Winter sun is much different than the Summer sun, because….well the science of the solar system. In the Summer the sun rises and travels almost directly overhead. But in the Winter, the angle of the earth makes the sun shine in at a lower angle. Which is honestly great for the houseplants!!! Because they need as much window light as they can get in the grey days of a Midwest Winter. A good plant lady will pay attention to which windows in your space face south, and or get the most sunlight. Move your “Full/Partial sun” plants around accordingly. There may be a little trial and error involved with this. But pay attention and check on your plants to make sure they’re happy where they are!
Little known fact: Your plants will thrive more if they listen to Jerry Garcia. JUST KIDDING! But for real, you do need to deadhead almost every plant at some point. All this term really means is pulling off dead leaves, stems and/or buds. Super healthy, thriving plants may not need it. So great job! But as soon as you see the dead, crispy yellowish, browning part of the plant, you need to remove them for the health of the plant. By shedding the dead and dying parts of the plant life, you’re encouraging the growth and energy to be sent to the healthy parts and growth of the plant vs. sending energy to try to heal the dying parts. Usually you can simply just pull them off. GENTLY. And if they don’t come off easily with a few gentle pulls, cut off with snips.
A big part of being a plant lady is keeping your pant babies happy in the right size pot. This. Is. Tricky! My rule of thumb when buying a new plant is to transfer it to a decorative or terra cotta pot that is 1″ larger than the plastic pot it came from the store in. Usually they can live in the new pot for about a year or two! However, each plant IS different! Some plants like to be “root bound” or “pot bound”. Which means the roots have taken up as much space as possible in the current pot. Some plants LOVE this and it can make them bloom or grow larger. For others, this can mean it will start to die. Therefore needs room to grow! When repotting again, make sure the new pot is a couple inches deeper and wider. Always add fresh soil, water, and put back in it’s happy place in your home!
….And as always, my number one rule of plant lady life, is simply to PAY ATTENTION to your plants! The more you look at them and check on them, the more you’ll learn about what each plant does and doesn’t like. Plus, the more your plant flourishes, the prettier it will look in your space. Therefore, bringing you more JOY!!
*All photos of me by Amanda Vick