Many people enjoy growing flowers and plants indoors when the weather outside is frigid and the landscape is dull. Whether you're starting next spring's batch, growing houseplants or taking care of outdoor potted plants indoors this winter, there are a few things to consider when caring for them. Winter has a few special conditions that may require you to change your gardening habits.
The right amount of light
Sometimes it's difficult to provide your plants with the sunlight they need to flourish in the winter. Even though the temperature in your home may be perfect for your blooms, the light might not be ideal. In order to develop foliage and bloom, plants need a full spectrum of light that can't always be provided by regular lights in your home or sunlight coming in through the window. To address this, the Springfield News-Sun recommends buying a grow light. They come in all shapes and sizes and can fit into your current fixtures, so it shouldn't be much of a hassle.
You may want to buy a few medium- or low-light plants, which would be easy to care for in the winter. Peace lilies, philodendron and pothos are all good choices that should be able to thrive without tons of natural sunlight or a grow light. Just place them in a relatively bright area of your home.
A different watering schedule
Many plants become semi-dormant in the winter, so they don't require as much water as they normally would in other seasons. As a general rule, you can go twice as long as you usually would in between waterings. Just make sure the soil is always a bit moist by sticking your finger into it and making sure it's not crusty and dry. If you put gravel or broken pieces of terracotta in the bottom of your pots, you shouldn't have to worry about proper drainage. Each time you water, wait a minute or two for the water to seep through the soil to the bottom, and be sure you don't over-water - this could damage your floors. You might want to empty the drainage dishes after each watering, just in case.
Unless you're taking care of winter blooming plants, you shouldn't expect your indoor houseplants and outdoor potted plants to be flourishing this season. It's normal for them to look a bit unhealthy - they might lose leaves and won't have flowers. Even so, just because they're not bright and cheery doesn't mean you're not doing a great job helping them survive the cold.