Winter's tough on houseplants, too

The cold temperatures outside can affect plants inside

Creative Commons image by FD Richards

In the winter months, your heat reduces the humidity in your house causing plants to have dry edges and

browning leaves. Lack of light may also be an issue. To combat the impact of the coldest season, try these tricks:

- Run a dehumidifier, place plants on a pebble tray full of water or use an indoor glass house. There are some neat and cheap ones from IKEA.

- Move plants closer to windows or use artificial lights.

Since growing conditions are not ideal in the winter months, plant growth slows and you need to water less frequently. Over-watering is one of the easiest ways to kill a plant, especially if growing poinsettias or Christmas cactus. They are also very sensitive to the cold so keep them away from drafty windows and doors.

A fun project to try over the winter for some spring colors is forcing bulbs. Techniques vary depending on type of bulbs being forced, but in general a chilling period of up to 12 weeks in a minus-40 degree Fahrenheit condition will initiate flower buds and root growth. After the cooling period, place bulbs into a pot full of soil at room temperature and within four weeks you should get beautiful blooms.

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