Winter days are not only short, but often cloudy. Available light is insufficient to meet the needs of your plants. Even exposed to sunlight in January, they will tap into their reserves of photosynthetic energy. Some, such as philodendron, and the aglaonémas dracénas, live for months on these reserves, while others show signs of weakness quickly – growing pale, feeble and withered, falling leaves, etc.. – If they “do not recharge their batteries” daily. They may even die.
The most obvious solution is to relocate your protected space in a better light. Prefer large windows and areas near the window, ensuring that the leaves do not touch. A window facing south, too hot in summer, becomes a tropical paradise during the cold season. Parts pierced with windows on several sides offer optimum conditions, as solariums and skylights. But be careful with those facing north as well as recessed areas. If you look well lit, they rarely provide sufficient brightness.
Finally, it is worth noting that the walls and light colored furniture reflect light and enhance the brightness of a room. Conversely, the walls and dark mahogany furniture absorb light and are best avoided.
If these conditions you are unavailable, you may need to use artificial lighting. Fluorescent lamps, inexpensive and easy to install, emit a light spectrum in a proper interest in plants (mostly red and blue rays), without risk of burning leaves, unless they relate to the tubes. A simple lamp with two tubes of 120 cm and 32 watts each, installed at 15 or 30 cm above the foliage, provides adequate lighting for the growth of many plants.
The combination of a cool white tube and another in the same warm white lamp also gives excellent results. The most demanding plant, such as miniature roses, orchids and some most cacti, require a four-tube lamp. These lamps can be hidden in shelves, attic, under stairs or in a closet, and why not, in the chimney of an unused fireplace to light a small garden located in the hearth.
Connect any artificial lighting on a timer: 14 to 16 hours of light daily to ensure healthy growth and abundant flowering of most plants. The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) are exceptions: their 10 hours of light will suffice.
Once, were advised to fertilize plants during the fall and winter, because it caused stunted growth and wilted. Since the advent of artificial lighting, the rule is rather not to fertilize plants that receive too little light. Those subject to artificial lighting show steady growth should be supported by regular application of fertilizers according to the frequency suggested by the manufacturer. Many gardeners use an indoor all-purpose soluble fertilizer at a quarter of the recommended dose every watering, and this, throughout the winter. This method is suitable for both plants artificially lit as those growing under natural light.
The frequency and dosage of irrigation also vary depending on culture conditions. The popular belief is that plants grow more slowly in winter and therefore require less watering. This is often the case, but if the air is very dry, plants sweat so profusely that they require more water in summer, regardless of their growth rate. Generally, wait until the soil dries before watering deeply. Check the condition of the soil every three or four days. For potted plants of medium to large, dip your finger into the soil until the second joint (about 5 cm). For smaller, you can rely on the color of the soil surface: it is pale, it’s time to water. Give them to drink until the water starts flowing into the saucer.
In the fall, some plants, including lilies of Saint-Jacques (Sprekelia formosissima) or red garlic (Scadoxus multiflorus) fall completely dormant: they lose their leaves and are left for dead. Remove yellow leaves and place them in a place free of light, like a wardrobe or a corner of the basement, until they again show signs of life in mid-February. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) also requires a short period of dormancy in the fall, which generally ends in December or January.
Other plants show no visible change but are still in a state of semi-dormant in winter. Thus, the clivia requires no watering from late November until the appearance of new buds in February or March.
Cacti from arid climates – small rounded (Mammillaria, Lobivia, Rebutia) as large candles (Cereus, Cleistocactus) – form a separate group, enjoying a cold winter and dry with temperatures between 4 and 7 ˚ C. If you can maintain this temperature in a room with little or no light, you will stay off until late March. They shrivel somewhat, but regain their turgor at the first water supply. If the ambient temperature is higher, at between 9 and 15 ˚ C, dormancy will be only partial: a monthly watering enough. Noted finally a cool, dry winter an exuberant flowering the following summer. If your cacti have never bloomed, you now know why.
10 air purifying plants
All plants absorb toxic substances released by paint, plastics and cleaning products and help stop harmful bacteria. NASA studies have identified 10 species that are most effective to purify the air in our homes:
• Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
• Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
• Dracena ‘Janet Craig’ (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’)
• rubber (Ficus elastica)
• fig leaf saber (maclellandii Ficus ‘Alii’)
• English Ivy (Hedera helix)
• Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
• Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelinii)
• Rhapis (Rhapis excelsa)
• Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)