Gardening: Avoid overwatering your plant in winter with one easy tip – ‘use the test!’

Gardeners' World: How to care for houseplants

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How much water your plants need throughout winter is often dependent on what type of plant you have. But Richard Cheshire, the plant doctor at houseplant brand Patch Plants, has shared general tips on how to watch after your plants this winter, including how much water they need.

Richard recommended watering your plants less in the winter compared to in the spring and summer.

He said: “As a general rule, you should reduce watering in winter as most plants are actively growing in spring or summer but often slow down or even become dormant during autumn or winter and, as a result, consume much less water.”

The plant doctor advised carrying out a handy method to see how much water your plant needs.

“Rather than sticking to a fixed schedule, use the finger dip test,” he explained.

“Dip your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle.

“If your finger stays dry and clean, then it’s time to water.

“Ideally, only water your plants when the top two inches of soil feel dry.

“For cacti and succulents, it is best to water only when the soil is fully dry.”

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Plants need water to survive, but they also need plenty of sunlight.

To ensure plants get enough sunlight in winter, Richard advised moving your plants to whichever location is best in your room.

He said: “One option is to move your plants to a south-facing window to ensure your plants do not suffer from a lack of sunlight.

“Do not worry if it is not sunny – even on an overcast day, your plants will be able to absorb the light they need to survive.”

Richard explained that “cold drafts from windows or doors will make your houseplant unhappy”.

He continued: “Plants can freeze in minutes when exposed to cold air so try to avoid temperature changes that can shock your plant, such as moving it from a very cold to a hot room.

“If you’re going away, you may want to move plants to the warmest spot in your house.

“With winter’s shorter days, your plants will be much happier by a window to get as much light as they can.

Another trick to ensure that houseplants get as much sunlight as possible during winter months is to “make sure to clean any dust off the leaves so they can absorb as much light as possible”.

It is also worth making sure that your plant isn’t near a radiator as the high temperatures can dry out the soil more quickly.

Richard added: “If you must have it near a heat source, try to keep it above the radiator, ideally on a shelf.

“Underfloor heating can keep roots too warm, so you may want to use a plant stand.”

If you’re new to gardening and are looking for low maintenance house plants to buy, Richard recommended some of the easiest to care for.

These included a peace lily, a snake plant, and a golden pothos.

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