From falling leaves to falling temperatures, it’s easy for people to fall in love with fall. But what about our houseplants? While we naturally make adjustments to the colder temperatures and decreased sunshine, our plants need a little more help to transition from the active summer months into a period of dormancy and rest. It’s not like they can simply put on a cozy sweater and heat up their favorite spiced beverage. Here are a couple things to know to help your cacti and succulents transition into the darker, cooler months of fall.
The easiest way to kill a houseplant is overwatering. Succulents and cacti generally thrive with infrequent, heavy soaks. But without the long summer sun and warm window sills, the watering will become even fewer and further between. Succulents especially are incredibly resilient and will adjust to the lower amounts of sunlight by using less water overall. In general you’ll want to water less frequently in fall.
The best way to ensure that you aren’t overwatering your plants is to test the soil for moisture. By using a popsicle stick, you can easily detect any remaining or excess water in the soil. Once it’s completely dry, thoroughly water your plants and do not repeat until the soil dries out completely again. Note that it’s okay to let your plant stay dry for a few extra days, especially if it’s a cactus or mimicry.
Plants aren’t afraid to tell us exactly what they need. When it comes to the fall and winter months, one key indicator is light. When plants exhibit stretching, also known as etiolation, it’s time to find the light. Especially for any succulents that you bring in from the outdoors, it’s important to maintain the hours of bright light that your houseplants are accustomed to. One easy way to do this is to move the plants to a windowsill that faces West or South, where there will be regular, long hours of light. If you notice your plants are still stretching, you may want to consider using an artificial light source such as LED grow lights. Happy plants exhibit compact, colorful growth so if you notice your plants stretching give them more light!
Adjust to Cooler Weather
As the weather cools you’ll notice changing colors. This is totally normal and often brings out some of the most stunning colors in the succulents and cacti. If your weather dips below freezing, you’ll want to make sure to protect your plants from those temperatures whether inside or outside your house.
The shorter days and cooler temps bring us indoors as we prepare for the winter. Let’s make sure we don’t forget about our houseplants during this important transition season. Use these three tips to ensure your plants stay happy and healthy this fall: water less frequently, make sure your plant is getting enough light, and protect your plant from frost.