Autumn houseplant care
Follow these top tips to keep them healthy and flourishing
Treat houseplants to a bit of clean now. Leaves benefit from dusting and cleaning with a wet cloth and give it a light, lukewarm shower for a couple of minutes. Clean round the outside and bo om of containers to get rid of muck and potential pests.
Make sure you bring in all your tender houseplants from outside now that the temperatures are lowering, as excessive wet weather teamed with cold won’t do many of them much good.
Deadhead spent flowers and prune off damaged or dying leaves and stems to help them se le in and recover from being outside. Not only does it neaten plants, it encourages healthy new growth and reduces the chance of pests and disease being harboured anywhere.
Good light is essential too – plants that got sufficient light in summer may suffer in autumn and winter if they’re now plunged into dullness. Move them to bright, warm conservatories and sunnier windowsills, and ensure curtains and blinds aren’t obscuring light. Flowering plants and those with variegated leaves need brighter spots; ferns, however, can be placed in darker positions.
Ensure they get as much warmth indoors as they need – around 12-18C (54-64F) is standard. Avoid extremes of temperature, such as windowsills that are cold at night or heat blasting out from radiators.
It’s usually best to wait until spring to repot your houseplants, when you can give them a slightly larger pot with added fresh, moist compost. If your plants are healthy as they are, there’s no need to repot.
Check houseplants for any damage or pests as they come indoors. Check under leaves, in crevices, in pots and compost for aphids and slugs and snails, but also for indoors pests like mealybug, scale or red spider mite, which will love being indoors and multiplying.
By now you should be reducing most of your houseplants’ watering and feeding regimes. They can be given a rest during autumn and winter and be encouraged to cease growing and using up energy, which will benefit them in the long run. Water once every two weeks, and stop watering cacti completely. The exceptions are Christmas cacti and poinse ias – keep watering these if dry.