Plants need water – just not as much as you’d think. Many people stick to a watering schedule of about once a week for their houseplants. While this is generally a good rule to follow, you may need to change your habits in the winter. The amount of water plants use is reflected by their environments: they will use more in hot and bright locations, and less in dark or cool situations. When winter comes, days are shorter so there’s less light and we generally keep our houses cooler, sometimes not by choice.
When winter comes, we should all be reducing the frequency of watering many plants. They just won’t use it as fast as they do in the summer and this excess water will stay in the soil. This can lead to a couple of problems with your plants: Root Rot and Fungus Gnats. Root Rot is when the roots stay too wet for too long and start to rot away. And Fungus Gnats are insects that are usually more nuisance than actual problem. Here’s a great source of info on Fungus Gnats: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/fungus-gnats-as-houseplant-and-indoor-pests-5-584/
We still recommend checking each plant by hand before watering to make sure they actually need it. Break yourself out of your summer habits and cut back on most watering to avoid these problems.
Originally published on February 1st, 2017. Updated on December 1st, 2022.