Pilea Winter Care Frequently Asked Questions
Just as we slow down in winter, so do our plants.
Ironically, we tend to shower them with more love and care during winter, since we spend more time at home. And sometimes this unwanted attention may come in the form of overwatering, fertilizing, or repotting.
Here are 10 frequently asked questions that we get about caring for your Pilea in winter - and our short and sweet answers!
Should I fertilize my Pilea in winter?
Plants need fertilizer to add extra nutrients during their periods of growth. Pilea plants, like most houseplants, go through growth spurts in the spring and summer months, when they can bask in more natural light and warmer temperatures. During the winter months, your Pilea will slow down its growth - and often even stagnate, so fertilizing it can do more harm than good.
Since your plant is doing everything at a slower pace, it's time to give it a break. Pilea still needs food during the winter, but less is more. Observe your plant and see if it's better to cut the doses in half or reduce the frequency. Never feed more than once a month!
Should I water my Pilea in winter?
Oh yes, you should keep watering your Pilea in winter, although you may need to adjust its watering schedule. During the cold winter months, plants don’t need as much water because they’re not actively growing.
Your best bet is to go longer between watering sessions (gradually), and not to water your Pilea if the soil is still moist. Check out this guide to learn how to tell if your Pilea is ready for watering.
Do I need to move my Pilea in winter?
That depends on your indoor environment. If possible, move your Pilea closer to the window, skylight, or any other source of bright indirect light. However, keep it away from drafty spots such as doorways or uninsulated windows.
Pilea doesn’t like sudden changes in temperature, so move it to a room where the temperature remains constant and the fluctuations between day and night are not too drastic.
Another tip is to keep your Pilea away from sources of heat, such as heat vents and radiators. And definitely don’t leave your Pilea in an unheated sunroom, porch, or garage.
Can I repot my Pilea in winter?
Please avoid this. You should only repot your Pilea in winter if this is absolutely necessary - for example, if the plant has root rot, or you are fighting a gnat infestation and this is one of the best ways to get rid of the bugs.
Under normal circumstances, you should try to avoid repotting in winter. Repotting, just like any other sudden change in a plant’s environment, might shock your plant when it’s at its weakest. Think about it - you wouldn’t want to move house either when your immune system is at its lowest, right?
Why are my Pilea’s leaves drooping in winter?
The first thing to check for is light. Is your Pilea getting enough light?
From October to March, as the days get shorter in the Northern hemisphere, you might need to move your Pilea closer to a source of bright indirect light.
We know, light is not often easy to come by in the North, but there are a few adjustments that you can make to improve your indoor environment. Place a few mirrors and reflective surfaces close to your plant corner. Clean your windows and replace dark curtains with sheer ones. And definitely don’t put your Pilea next to a window that you’ve insulated with dark thermal curtains or aluminum foil.
Will my Pilea have pups in winter?
That depends. Most Pilea plants produce pups (little offshoots that turn into new plants) year-round. However, in the winter, the period of rest between pups might be longer.
It’s perfectly normal for your plant to rest in the cold months. And even if you do get some Pilea grandbabies, just be patient with them because they’ll grow slower than their spring and summer counterparts.
Why is my Pilea losing leaves in the winter?
One word: fluctuation. Your Pilea is trying to adapt to unfavorable changes in light, temperature, and humidity. And depending on how healthy and established your plant is, this adaptation process can take its toll.
Losing older leaves from the bottom is the price that we must pay for some sweet Pilea growth. Have a look at this guide to learn more about other factors that can influence the state of the leaves.
Can I keep my Pilea in water in the winter?
Yup. You definitely can. In fact, if your Pilea is already growing in water, it might be a good idea to overwinter it in water too. That allows the plant to take as much water as it needs and saves you the trouble of always checking if it needs to be watered.
The water in the vessel might evaporate faster in the winter due to low humidity, so you should check more often and top it up.
Should I buy a Pilea in winter?
Yes, absolutely. You can buy a Pilea in winter as long as you heed the advice above. It’s totally safe to buy a Pilea yourself from your local nursery, a supermarket, or a garden center. Pay attention to how you transport it from the shop to your car, and from your car to your home. Preferably, wrap it in a bag or a scarf to keep it shielded from the cold and wind.
However, if you’re thinking of ordering a Pilea online, and you live in an area where temperatures dip below freezing in the winter, it would be better to wait it out. Houseplants are usually shipped from humid and warm greenhouses to uninsulated warehouses via unheated trucks. This will shock even the hardiest of houseplants, and your Pilea is no exception.
Will my Pilea survive winter?
Yes, don’t worry! Unless you’re horribly mistreating it, your Pilea will probably survive winter. It might look worse for wear though. But even in this case, your Pilea will bounce back as its growth conditions (light, temperature, moisture) improve with the advent of warmer months.
We hope we’ve put your mind at ease and that our answers will help you gain confidence in your ability to care for a Pilea plant during the winter months. Overall, we believe that less is more when it comes to Pilea winter maintenance!