Sustaining Northern Houseplants With Grow Lighting

We offered this tip last year and it’s been such a good one, we figure we should repeat it. This one’s for those of you with northern houseplants!

We’ve struggled over the years with houseplant survival. It was rarely an issue we faced at lower latitudes, but winter and houseplants in the far north is a different ballgame. The cool temperatures of our homes and those exceptionally long, dark nights we see over the winter definitely take their toll on our houseplants.

We have found it practically necessary (and also highly beneficial) to supplement our houseplant’s lighting over the winter. We try to keep it simple and just use our least expensive to operate grow lights for that supplementation. We generally start our supplementation in October and usually stop once those long days of March and April return. We used to do it once our plant’s started exhibiting issues, but we found this was often too late to help the plant recover.

We generally bring most of our plants together in one spot over the winter to make this easier as well. Although not pictured, we do have a few “low light” houseplants (e.g. ferns) across the way from these and the low spillover light is certainly sufficient for these. We also have a few plants that really don’t care one bit if they get light or not, so these guys just live where they live.

You really don’t need to supplement a lot of light. 8 to 12 hours daily is usually going to be fine. The less you supplement, the cheaper it’ll be on your electric bill. The more you supplement, the more growth you’ll see over the winter in case that’s your desired goal.

Since we started doing this proactively, as opposed to reactively, we’ve seen much better survival of our houseplants. If you’ve struggled with yours, we’d definitely recommend something like this as a starting point!

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