This is the one thing that can kill your plants in winter, expert warns

The one thing you need to watch out for when preparing your indoor plants for the winter season

A modern, stylish and bright bedroom with plants
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What is the one thing that can kill your plants this winter? The cold season comes with many potential challenges for your houseplants, but it turns out that there is one specific issue that can tip them over the edge, and it's likely not the one you're thinking of. 

When you are planning your indoor garden ideas for winter, you may need to make a couple of changes to make sure that you're not missing this important point. We've spoken to a gardening guru who advises on getting this aspect of winter houseplant care just right. 

Houseplants in a window

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The one thing that can kill your houseplants this winter

You are probably thinking it's low temperatures. It's true that most houseplants are non-hardy, which means they cannot be exposed to frosts, and most will be a bit poorly if exposed to temperatures below 12°C (53.6°F). Having said that, depending on the plant, it most likely won't die if the indoor temperature does drop below that mark – they will go into a dormant state until ambient temperatures return to a consistent higher level. 

And if you're wondering how to care for succulents, low nighttime temperatures are not a problem, because these plants have evolved to cope with significant temperature fluctuations in desert climates. 

houseplant in a window

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If it's not temperature, then we're probably talking overwatering, you may be thinking. While it is true that watering plants incorrectly, and especially overwatering, will kill your plants eventually, most plants can be successfully nursed back from overwatering by either just leaving them alone for a while or repotting if the roots have started to rot. 

The one thing that will kill your plants in winter if you're not careful is the lack of light. Houseplant owners often forget that even the best indoor plants tolerant of shady conditions need some bright indirect light to thrive. Photosynthesis is essential for the survival of any plant, and if your plant was already in a spot that's not getting much light, it likely won't be getting enough to meet its basic needs over the winter.

Kate Turner, Miracle Gro’s gardening guru, confirms that 'the one thing that can kill your houseplant over the colder months is not having an adequate light source.' Kate's top tip is to 'bring them nearer a window if you moved them away during the summer and try to keep them away from radiators and any draughts.'

It's also worth remembering that curtains also reduce the amount of light coming in, so you may need to place your plant in a window that doesn't have any window treatments.

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.