Where To Put Your Houseplants So They Stay Healthy All Year Long
In the Northern Hemisphere, the time has come to get our greenery collections ready for the winter ahead. The first order of business: finding each one a spot where it can thrive through dimmer days and chillier conditions.
You'll want to avoid pressing your plants against drafty, frigid windows or putting them on top of active radiators. Most popular houseplants hale from tropical conditions and appreciate mild temperatures (between 65 and 75°F) and moderate humidity levels (around 50%), so the former will be too cold for them and the latter will be too dry.
While these two spots are off the table, there are countless other places where you can show off your houseplants this season. Here are a few unexpected options to consider:
Hang them from the ceiling.
Hanging houseplants pull the eye up and create beautiful layers of greenery. They're also great for pet owners worried about their furry friends going digging. For a fun weekend DIY, pop your trailing plants in a hanging planter (these are mbg's top picks) and install it from a ceiling hook or curtain rod (here's our how-to for that).
If drilling holes is out of the picture in your home, you can also drape houseplants with long, trailing leaves over a bookcase or tall shelf for a similar effect. If you have a few plants, weaving their leaves together or even training them to climb up a wall using a removable hook or clear tape creates an overgrown effect.
Cluster them by a window.
Most plants go dormant in the winter, but just because your greenery isn't growing doesn't mean it doesn't need light. It's important to continue giving your houseplants adequate sun access as the seasons change.
In winter, you may find that the shadows fall in such a way that your home gets less light than in the summer. In this case, you'll want to move your plants to be closer to the window and life-enabling sun. (But again, watch out for drafts!) On the other hand, you also might notice that the formerly lush tree canopy outside your home has disappeared, and more light is now entering your space through tree branches. This is a sign to move plants farther from windows to prevent leaf scorching. Here's a guide to getting your plant's lighting just right.
Either way, clustering plants with similar lighting needs together can create a lush feel and make watering a breeze.
Make a Kokedama.
Japanese Kokedamas, funky moss balls covered in greenery, can be hung up or arranged on a table for a whimsical display. Here's a beginner's guide to the craft. The finished product shouldn't be perfect, as Kokedama is all about embracing wabi-sabi, or the beauty in nature's imperfection.
Curate a dining display.
Smaller, heartier plants like succulents can thrive when placed side-by-side in a large bowl, pot, or dish. (Feng shui master Dana Claudat loves the look of a succulent display as a dining table centerpiece and thinks it conveys abundant energy.) Another fun display idea from environmentalist Summer Rayne Oakes' plant-filled pad is to place succulents in repurposed tea containers for a lovely (and low-waste) kitchen window exhibit.
Relocate them to the bathroom.
For plants that crave humidity and have a hard time during the dry days of winter, your bathroom can actually make for a great spot—as long as it gets some natural light. Here's a list of varieties that will appreciate the mist of a hot bath or shower. You can place them on the floor or counter, or get creative and try to replicate houseplant enthusiast Pamela Gant's green tub oasis. Hang some eucalyptus from the showerhead while you're at it to complete the spa-inspired transformation.
The bottom line.
While different houseplant varieties have their own needs, most of them will suffer when placed on a heat source or drafty window. Be sure to move yours before winter hits, and cut down on watering, watch out for bugs, reduce your fertilizing, and maintain healthy humidity levels throughout the season to keep them comfortably cozy.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.