How to Fertilize House Plants in the Winter


Houseplants add greenery to your home's interior. Many houseplants are tropical in origin. While they remain green throughout the year, they may still go through a dormant period where no new growth occurs. During the dormant period, fertilization is unnecessary and may actually damage the plants. Other plants may never go fully dormant or may experience dormancy at other times of the year. Awareness of your houseplants' growth cycles allows you to fertilize properly and ensure the health of your houseplants.

Step 1

Inspect your houseplants during the winter months. Look for new growth such as flower or leaf bud production or new shoots along stems or at the base of the plant. Only fertilize when signs of new growth are apparent.

Step 2

Mix a soluble houseplant food at half the strength recommended on the package for most houseplants. Water the houseplants with this solution every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the specific fertilization needs of the plant.

Step 3

Water the plants thoroughly to wash out excess fertilizer and fertilizer salts at the next regular watering after fertilizing. Water at the base of the plant until the excess water drains freely from the bottom of the pot, then empty the drip tray.

Tips and Warnings

  • If leaves begin yellowing or the lower leaves start falling off, the plant is likely overfertilized. Stop all fertilizer treatments and water the soil thoroughly to flush out excess fertilizer.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer


  • Ohio State University Extension: Houseplants
  • University of Missouri: Caring for Houseplants
Keywords: Winter houseplant fertilization, Feeding houseplants, Dormant plant care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.