Houseplants & Tropicals
Day and nighttime temperatures can vary widely in November. Cold drafts blowing through minute cracks in door frames and windowframes can cause houseplants to drop their leaves. Check the caulking around your windows or hang double-thicknesses of heavy plastic over the insides of your windows to help block drafts and trap daytime heat. Alternatively, move your houseplants away from exterior doors. Folded newspapers placed at night between your houseplants and your glass windows can also help protect your plants from nighttime chill.
Remember that humidity tends to be lower in the winter than at other times of the year. Group your plants together to increase the humidity around them, or invest in a warm-air humidifier (your plants will thank you for it!). You know those outdoor plants you brought indoors for the winter? Well, just about now they should be developing a shiny, sticky substance on their leaves, and maybe some small black or green critters on their leaf undersides. Those are aphids, and to them, your houseplants are Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing and sweet potatoes all rolled into one. Spray Safer’s Insecticidal Soap or horticultural oil on both sides of the leaves and stems, and do it regularly: every five days if the plants are infested, then every week or two throughout the winter. And don’t let anybody tell you, “Oh, there are just a few aphids; don’t bother.” There is no such thing as Just A Few Aphids. It’s like saying we have Just A Few Rabbits. The aphids you don’t see are hatching out underground in your pots’ soil.