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Caring For Houseplants During The Fall

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

If you are new to the concept of indoor gardening, you may not have realized that indoor plants respond to the changes of the seasons just as outdoor plants do. The following is an essential guide to caring for your houseplants in the fall.

Caring For Houseplants During The Fall

Why Do Houseplants Respond to The Fall?

The temperature and general atmosphere inside your home change with the seasons – even if you use systems such as air conditioning and heating.

During the fall, the days get shorter, so your indoor plants will start getting less natural sunlight. They will also begin to respond to changes in temperature, as the warm summer gives way to cooler fall air – that's how your plants will know it's time to start preparing for winter.

It's important to respond appropriately to these changes in order to help your beloved plants continue to grow and thrive.

Adjust Watering

In the fall season, your houseplants will start reducing their need for water.

You can help them with the transition to winter by gradually reducing the amount of water you give them. This gradual reduction will mimic the natural water reduction houseplants would experience outdoors.

A reduction in watering is not always necessary for plants that flower in the winter – make sure you research which houseplants you should help prepare for winter and which to leave alone.

Reduce Fertilizer

Whether or not you continue to use fertilizer during the fall will depend on the plant. For houseplants that continue to flower after the fall season, make sure you are using nutrient-rich fertilizer that will keep them healthy despite the winter weather.

If the plant is going to enter its dormant stage, then you will need to change the way you use fertilizer. Just as you reduce their water intake, you will want to reduce your fertilizer for these types of indoor plants. Pilea, for example, still needs to be fed during the cold months, but you might need to slow down with frequency or cut doses in half. Observe your plant and fertilize accordingly!

Go gradually with this reduction, as suddenly stopping fertilizer or even drastically reducing it without a gradual process can be a shock to the plant's system.

Avoid Repotting Unless Necessary

Ordinarily, you want to repot your houseplants during the spring season only.

However, you will need to give all your plants a look-over during the fall season to check for issues such as frequently dry soil – a sign that roots need more room.

In some cases, repotting plants in the fall might help them survive the winter, so make sure you give every houseplant a look before winter sets in.

Provide Enough Lighting

Your home will start seeing less sunlight in the fall, so now is the time to look for spots in your home where your plants will get the most lighting.

For the most part, this means putting your plants near windowsills, while also being careful to avoid windowsills that bring in chilly drafts.

If you don't have enough windows for all your houseplants, you might consider using artificial lighting.

Choose The Best Spot

The best spot for your plants in the spring and summer is not necessarily the best spot for those same plants once fall sets in.

Fall weather is chillier than spring and summer, and you don’t want to expose your plant to chilly fall temperatures.

This means avoiding putting plants anywhere near areas of your home that are frequently exposed to the temperatures outside, such as the foyer near the front door, windows that are opened often, sliding glass doors, and so on.

Pay Attention To Heaters and Fireplaces

If you are planning to turn on a heating system, spark up the fireplace, or use portable heaters, you need to make sure you are taking extra care of your houseplants.

Excessive heat can dry out your plants – you will need to counteract the effects of heaters, fireplaces, and heating systems as much as possible.

For example, you can mist your plants regularly, set a humidity tray or buy a humidifier.

About Artificial Lighting

Artificial lighting includes grow lights and LED bulbs, which can help plants grow inside an apartment even if they aren't receiving optimum natural sunlight. This option will require you to set up an area where your plants can receive artificial lighting, but the extra effort is well worth it in order to keep your plants thriving.


Caring for houseplants in the fall takes some time, dedication, and plenty of patience.

If you plan to maintain an indoor garden throughout the year, it’s important to remember that your indoor plants will respond to the seasons just as you do.

Knowing how to take care of your indoor plants based on the changing seasons will help keep your indoor garden running for ages to come!

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