Australia is a big country with a number of different climate zones but, unless you (and your houseplants) are lucky enough to live in the tropics, you will need to adjust a few things to help them survive through winter.
In general, less is more! But here are a few tips we've learnt over the years...
1. Follow the sun.
If you’ve noticed your rooms looking a bit gloomier since the days became shorter, your plants are likely noticing it too! Think about repositioning any plants that like more light to a brighter spot closer to a window. That said, do be careful to avoid positions with cool drafts or near vents as plants don't appreciate extreme temperature changes or frequent fluctuations. Remember that the majority of popular houseplant species originate from the tropics so if you can, try and maintain a constant temperature in your house somewhere between 15-24°C.
If you are struggling to get enough precious sun rays to your plants’ foliage, you could install a grow light to maintain complete control over the amount of sunlight your plants have access to. There are lots of options out there, but we love Soltech Grow Lights because they actually look good in your home (as opposed the looking more suited to a lab!)...your plants will love them too :)
2. Moderate their drinking.
Probably the most important take home here is to reduce your plants’ water in winter. During the cooler months, your plants are likely to not be actively growing, so they require much less water than in spring and summer. Over-watering and not allowing sufficient time for the soil to dry out can damage your plants roots and encourage dreaded fungus gnats (help is at hand)! A great way to keep on top of this, is to use a moisture meter (a finger does work too if you're confident). Simply wait for the meter to register as ‘Dry’ before watering and bear in mind that this may take some weeks in winter as the soil will generally take much longer to dry out. When it is time to water, switch to using tepid water as cold water can shock the roots.
The other thing to consider is that, if you are heating your house, then it is likely that the humidity will be significantly decreased. It's therefore a good idea to use a plant mister a couple of times per week to increase humidity around the foliage.
3. Mix up the meal plan.
As mentioned, your plants are probably not actively growing during winter, so additional nutrients from liquid fertilisers are not required to feed your plants. You also risk burning the roots if you’re overloading the soil with nutrients that are not being absorbed by your plant at this time. Simply pare back your usual feeding routine and limit fertiliser to once every 2-3 months. If you do have any plants that really need help during winter we recommend using a slow release organic soil food or soil booster, sprinkled on the top soil around the base of the plant, which will ensure they don't go without any nutrients they may be craving.
4. Keep cool!
Depending on where you live, your houseplants might just not play ball in winter. If you do see some dropped leaves or other signs of distress, the worst thing you can do is rush into emergency response mode and start over-watering, over-feeding, or even repotting. Try a more subtle move to a better spot and give it a few days to settle in. You're not going to see a major turnaround in the depths of winter, but hopefully you've given it what it needs survive, ready to bounce right back in spring.