Last Updated on October 15, 2021 by Sophie
If you’re anything like me, then whilst you enjoy the changing of the leaves and the excuse to enjoy more warm beverages, the start of fall also means the decline in most houseplant growth, which is never a fun thing to contemplate. Here’s your ultimate fall houseplant care guide, as well as indoor autumn tasks for houseplants to get them ready for the winter ahead.
Bring in any plants that should be overwintered indoors
If you’re lucky enough to have a green outdoors space such as a garden or balcony, then the fall is the time to bring indoors any less than hardy plants which may not survive the winter. Depending on the zone you’re in, this can include any succulents that you’ve placed outside for the summer or even green plants such as bananas and philodendons.
You should be particularly mindful of bringing in any plants which are susceptible to frost before the first frost of the year occurs. And, of course, it’s particularly important to remember that just because it’s still warm during the day time in the fall, that doesn’t mean that the outdoor temperature is remaining above freezing during the evenings and overnight.
Before bringing your indoor plants inside from outdoors, it’s important to ensure that they don’t bring in any nasty pests with them! Be sure to wash down the plants thoroughly with a hosepipe before bringing them inside.
If you live in an apartment, then washing them in a shower is an alternative option. After you’ve brought your plants indoors, it’s a good idea to keep them isolated from the rest of your indoor plants, at least for the first few weeks, in order to make sure that they don’t develop any pests.
Keep an eye on plant humidity levels
When the temperatures start to cool and it’s time to put the central heating on. Central heating can dry out the air in your home, which will affect humidity levels and can cause your plants to become weak and the leaves damaged.
This is particularly important for plants such as most calatheas, which can be particularly susceptible to browning leaves. If you start to notice that your indoor plants are developing brown spots/ crispy leaf edges and you’ve started to put the central heating on, then it’s time to assess your humidity levels.
Consider grouping similar plants together and spraying them with moisture every few days so as to improve humidity levels. Another simple way of increasing humidity air levels is to place simple jars of water throughout any area of your home where you grow plants (just be sure to keep these jars out of reach of kids and pets!)
Houseplant don’ts in the fall and winter
Avoid repotting plants
One of the most important plant mistakes to avoid during the fall is to avoid repotting any houseplants that look like they need to be sized up into a bigger container. As plant growth typically slows down during the winter, this means that it will take longer for the plant roots to fill any new container, making the plant more prone to root rot. Takeaway: hold off repotting of plants until the spring.
Water your plants less frequently
In a similar vein to the above note about fall houseplant care, lower temperatures and lower light levels will mean that your plants will take longer to dry out between waterings. As such, take care not to overwater your plants as this can lead to root rot, from which there is little chance for your plant to recover.
Plants that I typically will only water once a week will only need watering once every few weeks. When it comes to plants such as succulents that only need watering once a month, even during the hottest part of the year, I find that they can go several months before needing a drink. Takeaway: cut down plant watering.
Feed your plants more sparingly
As plants grow less quickly during the autumn and the fall, they don’t require as many nutrients to help them grow. I personally stop fertilising my indoor plants altogether during the autumn and hold off giving them any plant food until the spring, when the growing season starts once more. Takeaway: take a break from fertilising your plants.