*Feature in the picture: Beautiful philodendron Prince of Orange showing his fall colors.
Hello dear plants lovers!
I don't know about you, but I love fall! With its enchanting colors, the smell of dead leaves and the fall harvest, this season is perfect and it particularly invites us to connect with the surrounding nature. Although the rhythm of our modern life is hardly changed by the seasons, the life cycle of plants allows us to remember what the arrival of each season meant for our ancestors. Lots of observation and preparation for winter!
But for our houseplants, what does the arrival of autumn mean? Well, during the growing season, chlorophyll is produced in large quantities and the leaves are dark green and vibrant. When the duration of the night lengthens in autumn, the leaves synthesize much less chlorophyll. In this process of photosynthesis, chlorophyll absorbs solar energy to allow carbon dioxide and water, present in the surrounding air, to combine to produce carbohydrates (sugar) and release oxygen.
As the days are shorter and the sun can be less powerful, it is recommended to place your houseplants near the windows and avoid blocking the light with blinds or curtains. If natural lighting is not enough, you can add *filling light (grow light). Your plants may be showing you signs of a lack of light. For example: If the distance between the leaves increases, if they become discolored and if the new leaves are small and yellowish these are symptoms that should not be overlooked. Also, did you know that even your plant with variegated foliage can gradually revert to green? Variegated leaves can turn green again, as the plant suffers from a lack of light in a dark place. The variegation affects your plant's ability to photosynthesize. It is essential that the light requirements of these plants are respected. So, if you have any doubts that your plant lacks light, act quickly by adding some!
Regarding the watering rate of your plants, this should also decrease from October to March. The frequency you will ask me?! Really difficult if not impossible to predict. Many factors can influence the water needs of plants. You should monitor your plants and water as needed, when the soil is dry or signs of drought appear. Why is there this change in watering you will ask me? Well, in the summer it is hot in our homes and the water evaporates much faster. In addition, when they are close to windows, the heat caused by sunlight through our windows greatly promotes water loss.
And the fertilizers? It is the same as for watering. Since the plant is not growing, it is entering its dormant phase, it needs fewer nutrients to live. You can therefore slow down or even stop fertilizing during this period (November-February). In mid-February, you can start fertilizing again, at the dosage of 50% of the regular use in the growth period. For example: If you were using a 20-20-20 fertilizer, halve the rate to get 10-10-10. If you water with algae every week (4x per month), repeat every two weeks (2x per month). It is the same for the foliar fertilizer, to reduce the use by keeping the rate of once a month instead of 4 times.
And in March, as soon as new shoots appear, start fertilizing again at the dosage of the growth period.
An important factor to keep in mind: If your plants continue to receive intense light during the winter *(plants grown under grow lights), then there will be no slowdown in their growth and then you should continue to fertilize.
It is true that summer is the favorite time for insects and pests, but don't let your guard down because mealybugs, thrips and spider mites don't rest!!! Also watch out for fungus, because when the temperature drops, moisture builds up. Check the roots, stems and substrate from time to time.
Listen to your plants and make sure you provide them with the best possible environment for their needs and remember that those needs change over time.
I wish you a wonderful autumn season, that it will be filled with beautiful walks in the forest, good food with friends, sweet mornings under the duvet, visits to the pumpkin patch and that you and your beloved plants are slowly getting ready for the long winter season. Continue to follow my Blog, I will do my best to brighten up your weeks and give you good advice for the maintenance of your plants!