Just as the weather changes and we pull out our jackets and store away our sandals, it might be time for you to grab a different plant care recipe for the fall.
It’s no surprise that water and sunlight affect a plant’s growth. This means that the temperature dropping and the span of daylight decreasing will affect it too. The flip side of the seasons changing is that it reminds you that you are not always in control, and may have to alter your expectations of what growth looks like in this different time.
Rules and Tools for Watering
When thinking about your plants, I encourage you to think of the way your body needs different nutrients during different times of the year. In the summer, your body likely needs a lot more water because the heat is absorbing it at a faster rate. Your plants will also need more water in the warmer months and less in the cooler months. When fall and winter come around, I water my plants maybe once every 10-20 days and I use discretion by examining the moistness of the soil. In the fall and winter, I’m extra cautious to only water completely dried soil because I know that water will take longer to absorb. If the water takes longer to absorb, drowning and root rot is more likely to take place. These things are almost certain to end a plant’s life.
There are also a few tools and tricks you can use to help aid in proper watering. A moisture meter or monitor tells you how moist your soil is and when your plants need to be watered. Visually, soil can be deceiving. The soil closer to the roots of your plants may be more moist than the soil appears at the surface, especially since the surface soil is more exposed to air. Another tool for better watering practices is a water bulb. Water bulbs allow the plant to self water, by releasing water into the soil as needed. Simply fill the bulb and stick into the soil of your plant pot. Refill as needed, and the bulb will do the remainder of the work. Lastly, bottom watering is a year long practice that I value a bit more in the colder months. Bottom watering is when you place your plant, in its aerated pot, into a larger bowl or bucket filled with water. Do this for at least 10 minutes, allowing your plants to drink as much as it needs. Remember, your planter must have holes in the bottom and the bottom half of the pot must be submerged into water for this to work.
Seasonal Depression is Relatable in Plants
I personally thrive more in the sun, which means my summer days are filled with natural joy and the colder months look like a battle with seasonal depression. The fall may look similar for your plants. My plants appear to be slightly less perky or visually less healthy outside of spring and summer. Some ways I work to aid this are by keeping my plants in a spot in my apartment where they will get the most sunlight. If you have to switch windows, find the one with plenty of sun coming in but no draft entering. Temperature is also very important to your plant’s leaves. Make sure to keep your place heated for your plants to feel like they are in a warm environment, but keep them out of the way of direct heaters. In my personal experience, I kept a plant by the window and right above a radiator all winter and its leaves grew browner by the day. The goal is to try to maintain a natural environment by providing heat more similar to the effects of the sun but not direct, forced heat.
‘Healthy’ Looks Different Throughout the Year
In some cases, you will have to change your expectations while changing your routine.. According to The Sill, your plant will grow the most when the sun is up and out the longest. With daylight reducing in the colder months, your plant will grow less regardless of how well you take care of it simply because of how much sunlight exists. Since there is not a ton we can do to control the amount of sun that enters into our home each day, it’s important to know that although your plants may not be growing or thriving like they did a few months ago, they are still doing well under the given circumstances. It might help to have an altered expectation of your plants growth and even appearance in the colder months given the weather factors that you cannot change.
I’m rooting for YOU, and your ability to take good care of yourself and your plant babies in these upcoming fall and winter months. Keep in mind, different plant species may need different care, but hopefully this article can serve as your guide and initiate a cooler weather routine for you. Regularly observe and learn what your plants need. It will take you a long way this season. Happy Fall!
Asya is an accounting and finance professional who loves fiction novels, travel, writing, nature, and being a plant mom.