How to Help Houseplants Cope With Winter

Palm plant growing inside house.
This palm needs to be moved away from the fireplace.

Since most houseplants belong in the tropics, the dry indoor air and lack of humidity and light in winter can be hard on them. Here are some tips to help your houseplants cope with the change of seasons.

Try the following to help plants cope with the cold:

  • Go Slow: Growth slows down in the winter, so stop fertilizing houseplants and reduce watering until spring growth resumes.
  • Cold Damage: Low light plants in northern windows can get too cold. Move them to a sunny eastern or southern exposure until spring. On freezing nights, keep foliage from touching cold window glass.
  • Boost Humidity: Everything seems a little dried out after the lush, humid summer. Even though you can reduce watering in the winter, a humidifier or pebble tray helps keep tropical plants from suffering in a dry, heated house.
  • Heat damage: Move plants away from heat sources, including fireplaces and heating registers.

During the coldest part of winter, I often gather my houseplants into a makeshift “tropical paradise,” by grouping them in the sunniest window with a humidifier nearby and a closed door to hold in the sun’s warmth. It makes a nice getaway for me, too.

I also give my plants permission to draw in on themselves and dream away the winter. Something I plan to do as well!

Further Information


  1. I have a Meyers lemon tree. I grew it starting with a seed from the lemon tree that was in my backyard in Florida. I started it in 2006. It has never bloomed. I would very much like to help it start growing lemons. Do you have any suggestions?


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