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September Sunday Seminar Series: Wintering Houseplants

Happy first week of autumn!

Are you feeling the seasonal shift in your neighbourhood? Calgary is gorgeous right now with the changing leaves, the corn mazes, Pumpkins After Dark at Canada Olympic Park. I mean, this September has been SO nice! We’ve escaped “Snowtember” and have been gifted an extended growing season which rarely happens. There’s so much you can still do outside! You can still plant trees, shrubs, and perennials, at a discount I might add. Time is running out though on our seasonal sale, so make sure to visit by the end of the month. You can also plant spring bulbs right now like tulips, daffodils, garlic, allium, and more.

While there’s still lots to do outside, you may also have thoughts about your houseplants. They’re going through a seasonal shift too! They’re going into dormancy, and are going to experience different conditions heading into winter. You’ll need to keep an eye on repotting needs, lighting conditions, watering changes, and pests.

If you missed today’s webinar on wintering houseplant or would like a copy of Colin’s PowerPoint, click here: GA September Webinar – Wintering Houseplants

Some key points from this information-rich webinar:

  • Fall is a good time to report as your houseplants are entering dormancy. Reasons to repot:
    • The plant has become rootbound and needs more room to grow
    • Soil is depleted of nutrients and water just runs straight through.
  • How to repot a plant:
    • Select a suitable soil. We carry many specific types: All-Purpose, Tropical Mix, Cactus Mix, Orchid Mix, and African Violet Mix,
    • Select a pot ONE size larger. Upcycle pots. Consider cover pots instead of saucers for a dressier look. Just make sure to water outside the cover pot so roots aren’t sitting in water.
    • Ensure the plant has soil around it and firm down, not compress.
    • Ensure soil does not mound over the crown of the plant. Make it level with the existing soil.
    • Water accordingly.
  • Light is a key component of photosynthesis (plant food). As lighting conditions change, monitor how much sunlight your plant receives and consider moving the plant or investing in grow lights.
    • Lightbulbs: These are great because they can twist right into an existing lamp and are quite affordable. We carry them as singles or in a pack of four
    • Light Bars: These are great if you’re looking to cover a lot of plants. They can hide under a shelf, or hang in a plant stand. Growtronics LED light bars are long-lasting and provide a full spectrum of light. You can use these not only for your houseplants, but also for herbs, leafy greens, or even seedlings in the spring.
    • Grow Kit: You can get an all-in-one kit that comes with a moveable light and trays so you can grow herbs, microgreens, and leafy greens all year indoors!
  • Avoid fertilizing houseplants in the winter. The plant is in dormancy and won’t be taking in as many nutrients so if there’s fertilizer sitting in the soil your roots could burn or succumb to future problems due to salt buildup. Make sure to remove any fertilizer stakes as well.
  • Watering is purely observational at this time of year. There’s no cookie cutter schedule we can give you. Some plants will require less, some will require more based on where they are and what they’re exposed to.
    • Consider where your plants are. Are they next to an air vent that is drying how the soil quickly? Are they next to a cool window and taking a while to dry out? Are they getting at least a few hours of sun?
    • Consider how dry your home is. Is the air really dry? You may want to install a humidifier to help keep your plants from drying out too quickly.
    • Consider what your plant is sitting in. Are you watering your plant in a cover pot? Check to make sure the plant isn’t sitting in water. Remove the plant when watering and return it to the pot after it’s drained.
  • For the first few weeks of winter and fall, check on your plants daily. When in doubt, underwater to avoid root rot. Soil surface may be dry, but may be wet near the bottom.
  • Helpful Tip: If you choose to spray your leaves for that boost of moisture, clean foliage before spraying with filtered water. Dust can accumulate! This ensures water and sunlight will reach the leaf.
  • Dormant houseplants are weaker. Keep an eye out for unwanted visitors and treat them accordingly. This is especially important when you’ve brought in a plant from outside.
    • Quarantine. As soon as you see a creepy-crawly, immediately quarantine it and the surrounding plants in a room with the door closed. s
    • Apply an insecticide. Use insecticidal soap, oil, or nematodes to combat the issue. Follow the instructions fully.
  If you run into any issues or have any questions throughout the winter when it comes to houseplants, we’re open year round to support you. Feel free to reach out on our facebook, Instagram, or twitter, or email our houseplant team directly: Now, go cozy up with your houseplants! Brandi
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