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Getting your plant babies ready for Winter - 5 tips for success

Over the past few weeks temperatures have plummeted across Australia. Winter is certainly here!

Your plants notice this change in seasons too. Usually triggered by shorter daylight hours or photoperiods, plants respond a number of ways such as dropping their leaves, becoming dormant, or stopping flowering. Gradually you’ll notice that your plants are growing less, and this means you need to adjust how you care for your plants in return.

To ensure your plants look fabulous over Winter follow these 5 simple activities:

1. Water less. Most plants are killed by over-watering, and during Winter they need very little. Plants such as Sansevierias and Zanzibar gems will be happy being watered about once per month. Let plants such as Philodendrons, Ficus, and Alocasias dry out on top before watering again. When you do water, keep it moist, not wet. If the plant is sitting in water collected in a decorative pot, ensure you empty it. Plants sitting in water will lead to the dreaded root rot.

2. . Check your plant for pests or fungous issues. Common ones are fungus gnats, mites, mealy bug, aphids and fungal issues - either on leaves or roots. There are excellent multi-purpose pesticides available including eco-friendly solutions. Fungus issues can arise and spread quickly so keep some fungicide on hand. Dealing with these problems now while the plant still has some energy to deal with it will ensure your plant will be well placed to flourish in Spring.

3. Trimming. Stand back and have a look at your plant - does it look a little leggy, straggly, lop-sided or generally in need of a hair-cut? For some plants, a trim now will reduce the energy load required for the plant over Winter, and in Spring new growth will emerge lower in the plant resulting in a bushier, more lush plant. Not all plants need a trim though - succulents, cacti, plants that get divided such as Calatheas usually won’t require a trim.

3. Styling. Now is a good time to consider whether your plant is really happy in its current location, and whether you will be using that room over Winter. If your plants is not in the best spot, move it. Most plants generally like bright indirect light. Areas away from north-facing windows and spots that receive morning or late afternoon sun are ideal. If you have plants on a balcony assess whether they need to come indoors, or be moved away from where they might get wet or frost-bitten. You may find that you’re grouping more plants in one place over winter so its a great opportunity to arrange them to make the most of their height, their textures, and show off the great pots you have.

4. Humidity. For your plants that will be in a dry heated environment, consider misting a few times each week. Conversely, if you have a room prone to condensation such as a laundry or bathroom, consider putting in plants that love high humidity, helping reduce any mould issues and purifying the air. Keep plants away from draughts and heater vents.

5. Re-pot any that have outgrown their pot. Does your plant look out of scale to the pot its in? Is it tipping over, or drying out too quickly? Now is a good time to repot up a size. When plants are re-potted their growth is affected for a few weeks. Because we’re coming into Winter, it won’t be noticed as much, and it th plant will be ready to go in Spring. Select a pot with good drainage, use premium potting mix and add some slow-release fertiliser and it will get off to a great start in Spring.

A little time spent now will ensure your plants are looking their best over winter, and grow well in Spring.