Thanks to shorter days, less intense sunlight, and cooler temperatures, many houseplants naturally slow their growth over the winter months, and some even shed their leaves completely. This process is completely natural, mimicking what these plants experience in their native habitats. Whether it’s a drought season or a dip in temperature, natural weather patterns can signal to plants around the world that it’s time to conserve resources and wait it out for brighter, warmer days.

If your plant slows down for the winter, don’t worry — and more importantly, don’t fight it! Like us, plants can benefit from a little time to rest and recharge in order to emerge stronger than ever in the spring. Here are a few tips to care for your plants during a dormant period:

  • Reduce the frequency of watering, since a slow-growing plant will use far less water.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, which can cause leaves to become scorched.
  • Clean up any shriveled, fallen leaves that can attract pests.
  • Don’t fertilize — since the plant isn’t actively growing, fertilizer could do more harm than good.
  • Avoid re-potting, since the plant won’t be able to “grow out” of any stress the repotting process brings and will be more susceptible to root rot.