Fall / Winter plant expectations

tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)October 7, 2012

With winter coming now and the days being shorter and all that goes along with the season change. What should I expect from my plants. Will they do anything that will make me worried that they are dying. With the little knowledge I have mixed with some common sense of the type of plants I have, my guess is they will just stay the same and I wont be seeing much if any new growth. However I do suspect that the philo dendron scandens will continue to grow. Am I wrong? Also, I have read to cut back fertilizing in the fall winter months. I plant to buy Foliage Pro and hopefully Pro Tekt with in the month. Should I not do this and wait till spring? I am also assuming no, I will just cut back on a fertilizing plant and then boost it up in the spring/summer months?

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I always worry during the winter months with the heat on. This year I am considering running a humidifer near the plants. Also lots of plants need 8-12 hrs of light so I am considering some kind of additional lighting for the plants. Even though my windows are south facing, the days are short. I get quite a bit of leaf drop in the winter months.
Maybe someone will weigh in on these subjects. I might be wrong.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Most house plants don't do anything noticeably different for winter, except maybe grow slower. That's what makes them good house plants - they don't go dormant or freak out about a little less light, shorter days. Some of the more unusual plants people will keep in pots and attempt to keep alive over winter may have issues, but you shouldn't expect any from the plants you have. Plants will not die if they don't get fertilizer, but too much/too often can make them ill, especially the slower-growing ones. I only fertilize (sporadically) while plants are outside.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:00AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

I just stop feeding in september and, depending on the plant, cut down on the watering now. My succulents will maybe get one last drink till march. Other plants I just water when they begin to wilt a little, when the leaves begin to droop a little. My preferred way of watering is from the bottom. Immersing the plants in water up to the rim until the surface glistens, then pull the plug and let all the water drain before putting it back on the drip tray. This is what I do whenever I repot. Its also good in autumn/ winter when less frequent watering is required.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:03AM
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This is my theory...
When we're asleep, we don't eat. If someone stuffed our mouths while we were sleeping, we'd, well, wouldn't be here..might not wake.

I feel the same about plants..When they're dormant, 'sleep' there's no reason to feed.
If plants are getting light from outside, in addition to artificial lighting, a little fertilizer, 1/8-1/4 strength, shouldn't hurt.

Also, it depends on the plant. Some cactus and succulents WILL die if given fertilizer. On the other hand, there are winter growers that can do with a little fertilizer, but again they need sun/light. They will grow, but spindly. I do not believe in force-feeding.

But, it's only my theory.

Polly, adding a humidifer is a great idea. Homes/air dry once heat is turned on. A few times, 'when my humidifer needed a new filter,' the humidity dropped to 5%. That is terribly low.

You should also invest in a hygrometer..they run from $10 and up. I purchased two hygrometers in the 80's, 7.00 per hygrometer, both are still working and accurate. We actually have 4 or so, Two w/house temps..one w/house, gh, and outside temps..

We run two humidifers, 'one upstairs, one on the main floor,' an indoor fountain/s, daily misting, weekly showering, 'plants', lol, and I hide little cups of water behind tropicals.
Also, humidifers are healthy for people and pets, too.

Polly, it's true plants need 'X' hours of sun, but they will adapt to lower light conditions.

Are all your plants new? Toni

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:02AM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Thanks Purple, Tiff right? :) I like your way of thinking alot of times on here! Simple.

Whats a hygrometer? Is it really necessary?

I also agree with you Toni on your above post.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 10:21PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

A hygromete measures pressure, brewers use a form of it to make booze.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:11AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Tiff, hygrometer measures relative humidity. Probably not necessary.

If you are using a very fast draining potting mix, you simply have to moniter the moisture levels carefully. When people heat their homes in the winter, they may greatly reduce humidity levels in the home, while increasing evaporation and evapotranspiration. That's why the need for humidifiers occurs more often in colder climates.

If natural lighting is significantly reduced in your home in the winter, you'll probably need to reduce the FREQUENCY of your watering cycles. Reduce but never eliminate the fertilizer. Depriving a container grown plant of needed nutrients is as bad or worse than overfertilization.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:39AM
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Hey Larry, you're thinking of 'hydrometer' . . .
(I only know that because I have gotten the two mixed up, when I went to buy some wine/beer making stuff)

Am bottling & racking this week= the fruit wine I started this summer.
Next, will be making some homebrew . . .

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 6:03AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

No, pretty sure hygrometer measures pressures, hydrometer measures moisture. Hydro means water or liquid.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:07AM
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ahhh hydrometer, thats what I had. I thought I was using the wrong name.
Mine no longer works.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:07AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Look it up, Larry. A hydrometer measures the relative density of a liquid compared to the known density of water. It's used to test many different liquids at (spirits of all kinds, milk, maple syrup, etc.) different stages of development.

A hygrometer measures the moisture content of the immediate atmosphere....the relative humidity.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:02PM
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