Just because it's the winter doesn't mean we have to say goodbye to greenery. Indoor plants can help mitigate those winter blahs, and can be grown to suit any indoor environment. However, there are a few things to keep in mind for indoor plants in the winter months.
Most of the popular indoor plants are native to tropical regions, and are used to warm and consistent temperatures year-round. In most homes this is not a problem, but light levels can be another story. With the decreased amount of light thanks to shorter winter days, some tropical plants may suffer. The good news is that light levels don't have to come from anything elaborate. “Artificial light is good enough but you need a light level – certain plants need certain light,” said Victor Kallos, Executive Consultant with BKDI Architects.
Larger, taller plants, such as fig trees, palms and flowering plants such as lipstick and hibiscus, will need more light than smaller plants that are used to living under tree canopies in their natural environment. Ivies and many Hawaiian plants fall into this second category. However if there's enough light, some people are even successful in growing lemon trees indoors and getting them to produce fruit!
While there are many specialized lights which use specific light spectrums that claim to be more beneficial to plants, it's hard to go wrong with just about any light bulb. That extra light may also have some beneficial effects for people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is strongly linked with a lack of light during winter months. If extra lighting isn't an option, be sure to choose your plants accordingly.
Because most indoor plants will be getting less light during the winter months even with a helping hand, many will go into slight hibernation and require less water and fertilizer.
Watering in the morning will provide the greatest effect, since that's the time of day when plants are most “active” and metabolizing. As always though, it will depend on the particular situation. “It depends on the temperature in the environment, and warm, dry conditions may make more watering necessary,” Victor said. Moisture meters are a good way to be sure that water is getting down to a plant's roots, he added.
More than just making a space look nice, indoor plants can provide valuable therapeutic functions. Multiple studies have shown positive effects on mental and physical well-being in hospitals when patients have access to greenery. With these suggestions in mind, you may be able to bring some of these effects to your home.