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How to keep your house plants alive during winter

Be green-fingered all year round.

When it's cold - and wet - outside, there's something nice about having an indoor garden.
But your house plants can even fall foul of the weather inside thanks to drafts, a lack of light and dampness.
So, here are some tips to help make sure winter doesn't spell curtains for your spider plants, your aloe veras, your ferns, and even your ever-hardy cacti.

How do I know if my plants aren't happy?

"Leaves dropping, yellowing of the leaves.... These are all signs of problems or stress," says Sophie from botanical stylists geo-fleur.

What's the most common winter-based query you guys hear?

"Basically, people asking what plants will survive the cold."
Although, somewhat ironcially, she says most people actually kill their houseplants in winter by over-watering and getting them too hot.
"It's by having their heating too high," Sophie explains. "That and watering too much to compensate for the cold."
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How often should you water your plants in winter?

"Most of the common houseplants need the same amount throughout the year," warns Sophie, except when they are coming into the 'growth season'. Which means the time of year when plants begin to think about growing again.

What should you do with the potted plants you have outside?

"Bring them in!" says Sophie. "Don't let them freeze!"

If your house is dark, what can you do about the lack of light?

"There are certain synthetic lighting systems which are mostly used for growing seeds or propogating," advises Sophie.
Don't worry if that sounds very technical and scary though - you can always just try and hang a lamp or light over your plants.
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What else can you do to help plants grow during winter?

"Feed your plants!" says Sophie. Plant food - specialist indoor plant fertiliser to be exact.

How does a damp house affect hose plants?

There are actually a bunch of plants that do well in a damp house.
"Plants that like to be kept moist such as ferns, fittonia and oxalis triangularis are great for damp houses," says Sophie. "They will thrive better."
Watch out for your cacti though as they're more keen on a dry environment.
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What about the varying temperatures when the house is heated and when it's not?

"Most house plants are rather hardy but won't like a cold draft," warns Sophie. "Don't leave them next to a window that's constantly open (or is rubbish as a draft stopper) as the cold winter air will harm them."
When it comes to the heat problem, just move them away from heaters and out of the path of heat pumps.

What are some good choices of house plants for cold, damp, low lit conditions?

"Sanseveria and the ZZ Plant are totally hardy," says Sophie. "They will survive these conditions and they thrive on neglect."