Workshop on Plant Care in Winter
The Winter season is here. Just like our skin needs special care in winters so do our plants. For some plants, winters are a time when they go into hibernation. That means they can slow down their growth or even go completely dormant. The severely cold temperatures can sometimes send them into shock.
All these changes in plant life call for special care. There are various ways in which we can take care of our plants in winters. To learn more about it watch our workshop on “PLANT CARE IN WINTER” with our speaker Mrs. Archana Sen Kotwal, done on 20th Nov, Saturday, 4 to 5 pm. Being an Army wife she believes in creating a healthy and safe environment for every individual. Identified as MAGIC OF GREEN on Instagram, Archana is the name that drives the handle and runs it as an individual. Her love for Plants and creating magic out of them by being a unique DIY expert. She aims to flourish and reach out to people while ensuring the magic of green reaches each house.
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Winter care tips for plants with Archana
“Hello everyone. Welcome to another workshop with TheAffordableOrganicStore. Today, we have Mrs. Archana Sen Kothval. Hello, Archana ma’am! How are you?, asked Zehra”.
“I am good, said Archana” It’s great to have you today with us. She is from Jammu and a proud militant wife. She will be telling us about the ways to care for plants in winters. She has an Insta page known by the name of “MagicofGreen” where she shares a lot of information about plants and a lot of interesting facts about terrace gardening. So, without any further delay, let’s get started. Over to you, Archana.
A proud militant wife and a passionate gardener
“Thank you, Zehra. As Zehra said, I am Archana Sen Kothwal. I truly believe that creating a safe environment for everyone is very essential. And this thing can be truly believed from my case. I am a mountain girl. I was close to trees and nature from my childhood. I used to hear the rustling of leaves and chirping of birds right from my childhood. I used to witness the scenic beauty of nature all around. Due to my husband’s job profile, we shifted from one place to another. Many times, I used to feel the difference in places where I used to live. Few places had similarities to my hometown and few places were completely different. Then I started feeling a need to create an environment that matches my hometown. And how do I do it? Such questions started coming up in my mind. The solution to this was nothing but Gardening! This led to the start of gardening. And from here, I started experimenting with plants. I just started from a single pot and today, I have more than three hundred plants. So, I am living through plants and with plants! As you all know that our country is divided into three seasons. Somewhere, there is the winter season. It is truly said that winters are known by the plants and for the plants. So, do plants know that it is time for the winters to arrive? Yes, they know. Plants also know that the days are getting shorter, so it is time for winters to arrive. Every part of the country has a different zone, location, climate. Like in the northern parts, we face harsh winters. But, in the southern parts, the winters are less harsh. That means that northern staying people have to be a little more prepared for the winters as compared to the people in the southern parts. So, with the winters coming, I am getting ready for my plants. I have my terrace where I plant all the plants. So, this is the perfect time for everyone to get ready for the winters and the plants. Because this season is the time for low sunlight. This phase is very critical for plants. The way we take care of ourselves and make necessary changes for the winters, plants need some extra care too. When there were summers, we felt the need for air conditioners. But, now, we feel the need for getting sunlight. So, let’s see how we can make our plants winter-ready. The days are shorter in winters and the sunlight is also not bright. So, today I will tell you all the measures that are necessary for the plants in winters. ”
Tips for winter gardening:
You should always provide less water in winters. Why is this so? So, always use the finger method to check the top layer of soil in winter. Pierce your finger in the top layer of the soil. If the layer falls completely dry or the soil isn’t sticking to the finger, then make sure to water the soil from a can. Do not pour the whole water from the can. I never use any gloves while gardening. I just use my hands because I like to play with my plants and get my hands dirty. By doing the gardening with bare hands, I come to know the water requirements of the plants very easily. When we water in excess quantities, we notice that the plants start to develop fungus in winters. So, excess water is always harmful to the plants. The most appropriate time for watering the plants is mid-day because the temperatures are generally high during this time.
I know that few people have gardens, few people have jobs. Some have few/large balconies. So, we have to see that the plants get appropriate sunlight in winters. We have to ensure that the plants get the appropriate amount of light. We cannot keep plants in dark areas because the process of photosynthesis won’t flourish in the absence of sunlight. The plants won’t grow in the absence of light. This is the time when the dormant stage of the plants is starting. Dormancy is the period when the changes occurring in the plants slow down. Even plants love to hibernate as they love to go into a dormant stage. So, do not interrupt much with the plants. Let them enjoy their winters.
- Cleaning the plants:
When it comes to my garden, I do not have any special gardening for my plants. I do the watering, pruning, and fertilization all by myself. I have a monstera plant and cleaning the plant is essential. Cleaning the dirt is a must for plants to grow well. If I move my finger along the surface of the leaves of monstera, I feel dirt on my fingers. In winters, take something to wipe the surface of the leaves. Prefer a cotton cloth as it is very soft. Tissue paper can also be used. Soak the cloth in water and remove the excess dripping water. Then, gently start wiping off the dirt from the leaves. This will ensure that photosynthesis takes place very efficiently. There is a slight difficulty in winters for the plants to practice photosynthesis. So cleaning them is very crucial. Cleaning also increases the natural beauty of the plant. The leaves start to shine in full glory.
- Aerate the soil:
Take any gardening tool that will help to till the top layer of the soil. This ensures that there is good aeration available in the roots. This helps the plants to breathe the plants efficiently. I have noticed that pothose sometimes looks dull. So, please avoid giving them fertilizers at this time. Do not think that fertilizer is the only solution for the plant to solve its problems. Fertilizers are required, but in minimal amounts, You will see that the plant’s roots grow fast when fertilizers are provided during spring. In winters, provide fewer fertilizers because plants are in their dormant stage.
“In summers, animals eat a lot of food and gain excess of fat in their body. In winters, animals go into hibernation. They utilize the fat stored in their body for gaining energy. This is the same for plants as well. Plants also need optimal fertilization in spring and then go into the dormant stage during the winters, added Zehra”
In winters, low humidity is also a major problem. So, try to group the plants. Plants transpire through leaves and release water. So, when the plants are in a group, they will develop their water table and survive. You can provide moisture to the plants. For example, I have a bowl; filled with water. So, if I feel that there is low humidity, I will keep this pot near the plant or immerse the plant along within the pot in a water tray.
We face a lot of problems with pests in winters. During winters, there is a lot of fungus or mealybugs. So, keep a close watch on them. I must measure the amount of water too. We can use neem oil. It will help for keeping the pest away from the plants. Always try to look for the bottom part of the leaves because this is the area where we do not pay attention. In winters, most of the plants have yellow leaves. You can see that the leaves are starting to turn yellow on my Pothose. But, there is no need to worry. Another plant of mine named the purple jew is also seen with very dry leaves. So, we think that the plants need more water. But, this is not the case. Drying of leaves or yellowing of leaves is common in winters. This is just a sign for new leaves to grow on the plant as the older leaves shed and new ones grow in their place. So, try to remove the dead leaves.
We mostly use terracotta pots or clay pots that are available in our houses. If there are areas that are facing extreme cold or there is the majority of froth, then cover the pots with bubble wrap or polythene. This way, the plants can be saved. Dead leaves can also be used for making a layer of the surface bed. This will prevent the dew from entering the roots. Most of the people say that it is not good to repot. Even I believe this fact. Because this is a dormant stage for plants. So, why disturb them. Just try to not repot the plants. Spring is the most suitable time for the roots to grow. In winters, there should not be hard pruning. Soft pruning is fine. But, hard pruning is not recommended. Pruning is very important for the growth of plants. But, there must be soft pruning in winters. The best plants to plant in winters are plants with bare roots. Perennial plants that can live more than two years have bare roots. These are plants (example rose) that can be used. These are the plants that do not come with a rootball or soil at the time of purchasing. The parts of our country that do not get enough lighting, then grow light can be used. Try to analyze the area in which you are living and then choose the plants. We must conserve the energy of the plants in winters. We can do this by removing the dead parts of the plants. You can also take the plants indoors if you have available space. An alternative for this is that you can take plastic and make a hole in the plastic for air circulation. Cover the plant at night with this plastic bag to protect the plant from frost and dew. Everything plays an important role for the plants. Even the dead leaves and the dead branches.
I come from a very cold area. I used to watch that the plants used to die due to extreme weather conditions. So, my father used to bring all the plants indoors and also use high voltage bulbs to maintain warmth for the plants.
- “Can we use grow lights now?, asked Zehra”
We can use LED grow lights, room heaters, and also high voltage bulbs.
We can also mist our plants. Misting allows for efficient photosynthesis. Leaves can be damaged by extremely cold temperatures. Roots will also be affected. But many times, if there is water around the plant, if it solidifies, then it won’t hurt the plant. There are so many flowering plants that can be planted in winters.
Marble pothose, succulents, cacti go into complete dormancy during winters.
Some plants don’t go into a dormant state, which are known as annual plants. These are the plants that survive for an entire season. The growth is slow because the process of photosynthesis and respiration is also slow during winters.
Winters are made for creating a cozy environment and getting rest from the high heat of the summers. So, winters are very important for plants. Winters provide that vulnerization for the plants. It is a physiological process for enabling the seeds or the flower to blossom during springs. Many plants need this cold weather to thrive in summers. Everything has its importance. Seeds become dormant waiting for the springs and conserving their nutrients. This is a part of the survival mechanism.
- “Come back with more life after resting, rejuvenating all the energy, added Zehra”
Winters are like knockings at your doorstep for making the plants ready to go into their dormant stage. So, all these things are very important for the plants to survive in winters.
Some questions and answers
- Which category of plants is more dormant in winters?
Plants that can survive for more than two years, can tackle dormancy very easily. Evergreens also aren’t affected much by dormancy. But, annuals are to care a little bit more in dormancy.
- Can cactus be grown indoors in absence of lights?
I will not suggest any plant to be kept in complete darkness as light is very important for the plants to grow. Try to keep the cactus outdoors.
- Will lotus grow in winters?
Yes, many ponds will grow lotus into them in winters. It is a little bit tough, but it is possible. I have water cabbages that are in their dormant stage. I was only able to save 4 to 5 plants after keeping them inside my room. So, ensure to give adequate conditions for the plants to survive in extreme weather conditions.
- What can be done if the leaves of succulents are turning yellow?
If the leaves are starting to turn yellow, then try to give them a spray of water or keep them in light.
- How do we mist the plants?
It is the same as watering the plants. We can use steamers for this purpose. Humidifiers and steamers can be made use of for extreme weather conditions.
- Will the tulsi plant grow in winters?
If I see my tulsi plant, it is growing perfectly fine. It has started shedding some leaves. The growth rate will slow down, but it won’t hamper the health of the plant. Gardening is a type of experimentation. So, everything must be given a try.
- How to get good leaves on the Jade plant?
Let me show you my Jade plant. I water my jade plant only once a week. The jade plants should not be overwatered. Jade is also a type of succulent and any succulent shouldn’t be overwatered.
- Can we buy plants from the nursery in winter?
Yes, surely. Try to buy more of the flowering plants.
- How to provide lighting to the Jade plant in winters?
If you keeping the plant indoors, then keep them near the window sills for getting adequate lights. Indirect lights should be provided, cross- ventilation should be given.
- How are grow lights different from ordinary lights? Can we use regular bulbs in place of grow lights?
Grow lights can be purchased from E-commerce websites or from nurseries. LED bulbs can also be used for this purpose.
- What is your experience with gardening so far?
I have broken a lot of plants, killed a lot of plants, have done numerous mistakes, and then learned about gardening. The Internet has also helped me a lot. Even if there is a garden that I see and like, I ask the owner for ways to care for the plants. Gardening is a never-ending process.
Some inspiration from a Pahadi girl
- Is there something else that you want to share with the viewers?
I am not an experienced gardener and I am not used to doing workshops. I am trying to learn. You can also learn from your mistakes. Many communities can be made use of for gaining information. Even books can be made use of. But, real insight will be gained by actually trying it in real life. So, I believe in the magic of green. We must take care of this environment and conserve it. If anyone has any doubts regarding gardening, feel free to contact me through my Instagram handle.
Ending of a mesmerizing workshop
“Thank you, Archana. This was a very informative workshop. We got to learn a lot of new things today. Thank you for your co-operation and giving your time for this workshop. I hope a lot of people will get inspired by” The magic of Green” and spread this magic at their homes, said Zehra “
“Even I hope to spread this magic with more and more people and inspire them to do gardening. Even if I can motivate a single person, it will be a big achievement for me!, exclaimed Archana with joy.”
“That is a very good thought. With this, I would like to end today’s workshop. Thank you viewers for joining us. If there is anything that you would like to tell or ask us, kindly feel free to contact not only TheAffordableOrganicStore but also Archana through her Instagram page. We will all stay connected and spread the magic of green!, exclaimed Zehra. ”