How to Care for Philodendrons in the Winter?
The needs of philodendron plants change during the winter. The changes in light, temperature and humidity levels that happen as winter sets in, will trigger changes in your plant as well.
In winter, environmental changes will influence the requirements of your philodendron plants, and so you’ll need to make adjustments to account for these differences.
At the end of fall, beginning of winter, the growth rate of philodendron plants will slow due to lower light conditions and lower temperatures. This has implications in the plant’s watering regimen and humidity requirements.
But don’t worry, my winter care tips for philodendron plants will help you make the necessary adjustments, so you can continue offering your plants the best care.
Watering Philodendrons in Winter
Because philodendrons enter a dormancy of sorts as fall comes to an end and winter sets in, your plant care routine must reflect this shift.
One of the changes you must make during the winter period is to reduce watering. A reduction in watering will usually mean a reduction of watering frequency.
If you have been watering your philodendrons once or twice a week, you may now end up needing to only water them once every two weeks.
Still, you should not base your decision to water your plant on weekly frequency. The best way to ensure your plant is hydrated, but not over-hydrated is to check the moisture status of the potting mix.
Before watering your philodendron, wait for the top layer of the soil to completely dry. Then water the potting mix until you see water pooling in the saucer. Once the excess water has drained, empty the saucer.
The frequency of watering is not the only thing to worry about. Make sure to water your philodendrons with room temperature water to avoid shocking your plants.
Overwatering is highly problematic during this time. Because the plant doesn’t like wet roots, the soil should only be moderately moist.
An overwatered philodendron will have either yellowing leaves or drooping leaves before the plant completely wilts and its roots completely rot.
With no roots, the plant will be unable to absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil.
Winter Temperature for Philodendrons
It’s no secret that philodendrons don’t tolerate cold temperatures. And if you live in an area where winter temperatures drop below 55 degrees F, you must move your philodendrons indoors.
But just because your room temperature is within the 65-80 degrees F range, which is ideal for philodendrons, problems can still arise if the plant is kept in a cold window.
Likewise, the plant can have trouble if it’s placed in a spot with cold drafts hitting the plant. Therefore, as part of your winter preparations, make sure to choose a spot where the plant isn’t exposed to temperature changes or cold drafts.
In terms of temperatures, temperatures that are too high can also be a problem during the winter months. Placed close to heating vents or other sources of strong heat will cause the plant to wilt and eventually dry.
Therefore, moving your plants indoors is not just a matter of taking them inside, you also need to account for these circumstances when choosing the best spot for your philodendron.
Where To Put Philodendron in Winter?
If you’ve been keeping your philo plant outside and temperature changes no longer allow you to continue keeping it outdoors, it’s time to find a good spot for your philodendrons indoors.
I mentioned how cold windows, cold drafts and even strong sources of heat are a problem for this plant.
Philodendrons need bright light, warmth and humidity even indoors. So with these in mind, here are some tips on where to put your philodendron:
- Find a spot in your home that’s brightly light, so that your philodendrons continue to receive adequate levels of light throughout the winter months
- Keep away from cold windows or areas close to the front door, which can be too drafty for your philodendrons
- Make sure humidity levels are at an acceptable level for your philos, and increase humidity around the plant whenever the air becomes too dry
- Keep away from sources of heat like heating vents
- As long as philodendrons get enough light, kitchens and bathrooms seem to be an especially good location for these plants due to the naturally increased humidity levels
These are the adjustments you should look out for when bringing your philodendrons inside for their winter slumber.
Do Philodendrons Need Artificial Light in Winter?
One of the major changes that winter brings about is a drop in light levels. If your philodendron doesn’t receive enough light, its leaves can become yellow, and the plant can grow leggy.
If moving the plant to a different location — one with more light — doesn’t seem to help the problem, artificial light can be used to supplement the amount of light your plant receives.
You can find a variety of LED lights or even just LED light bulbs online if you see that your philodendron is doing poorly with the amount of natural light it receives.
Should You Fertilize Philodendron in Winter?
While as a rule I don’t fertilize plants in winter, especially ones that go dormant, philodendrons are the one exception to this rule.
Generally, in spring and summer, I apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, and then reduce the frequency as fall sets in.
In winter, I fertilize only every 6-8 weeks, then pick up the pace again in spring as I prepare to move philodendrons outside again.
I used to not fertilize philodendrons in winter, but when I didn’t, I noticed the leaves getting much paler, even with adequate amounts of light.
I found that the 6-8 weekly fertilizing schedule works well in preventing pale leaves during winter.
Philodendrons aren’t cold-tolerant, so keeping them outdoors in winter, outside of USDA zones 9-11, is not possible.
While these aren’t pretentious plants, it helps tremendously to put some thought into where you’re going to place these plants indoors and how you’re going to care for them.
My tips and recommendations in terms of light, watering, temperature, and fertilizing philodendrons will help the plant thrive even during the winter months.