Autumn houseplant care can be challenging even for experienced gardening enthusiasts. You might not be aware, but your indoor plants experience the change of seasons and some species can deal with it better than others.
Autumn can be a difficult time for your plants, which is why it’s important to pay extra attention to them in order to keep them healthy. Just because houseplants live indoors doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by the change of seasons.
Find out how to take care of your houseplants in autumn with our complete guide.
Autumn Houseplant Care Tips
1. Prune Back Stems and Branches
Cutting back all the leggy stems and dead branches can not only help your plant look better, it also promotes new growth and gives you an opportunity to propagate them. During autumn it might take a little longer to see little roots starting to grow, but if you keep your cuttings in a warm sunny spot you’re likely to see results.
The pruned and rooted leggy plants can be put back into the pot to make the main plant look fuller and bigger. You can also pot them separately if you want to have even more greenery in your room.
2. Move Plants to Better Spots
With the weather getting colder, your radiators will be turned on more often and drafts would be coming through even the smallest cracks in your windows. During the autumn and winter months it’s important to protect your plants from cold drafts, while ensuring they get enough sunlight. Move your plants away from radiators as well, because the heat can dry out the soil and cause leaf burn.
If you have particularly sensitive plants such as bonsai trees, calathea plants or other exotic species make sure they are placed in a suitable spot. Keep them away from windows and if needed use grow lights to ensure they get enough light. You should also be wary of corners in your home that are particularly dry or dusty as they can attract pests such as spider mites.
3. Bring Outdoor Plants Indoors
If you have any tropical indoor plants that you keep in your patio for the summer months, now is the time to bring them back in. You don’t need to bring in all of your outdoor plants, just the ones that can’t survive the winter frost.
4. Check for Any Pests
This is something you should be doing all year round, particularly if you have a lot of houseplants. A pest infestation can quickly get out of control if you don’t keep an eye on it. Since you’re not watering your plants as often in autumn and winter, it’s easy to miss the signs of potential pest problems.
To keep your plants healthy, learn how to identify the different common pests and the damage they can cause so you know exactly what to keep an eye out for. Many pests hide in the soil or under the leaves so it’s easy to miss them if you don’t have experience dealing with a pest infestation on your plants.
5. Stop Fertilising
During autumn your plants slow their growth which means you wouldn’t need to fertilise them until they start the next growth season. Of course, if your plants are still producing new leaves or flowers, it’s safe to give them a bit of plant feed, just don’t overdo it.
Over fertilising your plants can also cause damage to the roots of your plants. Reduce how often you fertilise your houseplants to once a month and then completely stop during winter.
6. Water Less Often
In the warmer months you’ll be used to watering your houseplants several times a week because the soil dries out so quickly. In autumn and winter, you’ll have to drastically decrease how often you water your plants. With the drop in temperatures and less sunlight, the soil will take much longer to dry out which could cause your plants to rot, wither and die.
You shouldn’t water your plants on a schedule as each one has different needs. Check how wet the soil is every few days and only water if it’s fully dried out. Certain species like succulents or cacti might need to be watered only once every couple weeks, while others should be watered more often.
7. Repot Only If Necessary
Repotting in autumn is not recommended but you can just about get away with it as long as the weather allows it. If you can wait until spring, it’ll be more beneficial as repotting when cold can damage your plants.
If you’re concerned about the roots of your plant being too long and trailing out the bottom of the pot, you can prune them back with scissors. This should help slow the growth of your plants so you can get away with keeping your plant in a smaller pot until spring.