Caring for houseplants in autumn - Plantsmith
Houseplants grouped together to increase humidity

Caring for houseplants in autumn

As the weather turns from warm sunny rays to a bracing myriad of elements its not only us that feel the atmospheric change but also plants. What can we do to help our treasured houseplants stay healthy and perky throughout autumn and winter?


First things first, the change of season also signals the end of the UK holiday season so any plants that have spent their summer in your garden need to be brought back into the house again now, otherwise cold night temperatures could send them into shock. Have a good check for any unwanted hitchhikers… slugs, snails, vine weevil and woodlice maybe hiding in the soil or under the pot base and check leaves for creatures or damage. If in doubt, repot your plant into new houseplant compost before bringing the plant indoors.

Debi Holland bringing houseplant inside for autumn
Now the temperatures are dropping, bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outside. Image: Debi Holland

As outside temperatures cool, our central heating will kick into action and this can be a problem for houseplants as radiators pump out heat which dries the air. Many houseplants favour humid conditions so pay extra attention to regularly misting foliage with water, or for an added hug, Plantsmith’s Perfecting Care Mist which has the additional benefit of being packed with essential nutrients.

Windowsills are perfect for houseplants during the day as this will provide the greatest source of natural daylight but some windows can be surprisingly cold at night. If you find your windows have a vast fluctuation in temperature from day to night then consider moving your plants at night and popping them back on the windowsill in the morning. If this all seems like too much work then monitor your plant’s health, most are pretty resilient and can tough out adverse conditions for short periods.


Plants will be slowly moving in to a more dormant period as they edge towards winter but they still need to photosynthesise. Make sure your windows are clean and there is space on windowsills or in a warm conservatory where they can get light from all angles including above. With shorter days and less sunlight available we have to maximise the opportunity to catch rays so move plants to a bright spot.

Placing houseplants on windowills
Place houseplants in windowsills to maximise the light they receive. Image: Debi Holland


As temperatures and light levels lower, houseplants will not be processing as much water as they were in summer so ease back on watering and only water when the soil feels dry. For most plants, aim to water once every two weeks but you may need to adjust frequency to a little more or less to suit conditions. If radiators are on regularly, the soil will dry out more quickly.

Test the soil’s moisture by pushing your finger into the soil, don’t water if it feels damp below the surface but if it is dry, give it water. Make sure your pots are free-draining to avoid roots sitting in water as this may cause rot. Aim to use rainwater as tap water contains salts and minerals which can be detrimental to houseplants. 

Water stored outside in a water butt can be very cold in autumn and plant roots are not going to respond well to cold water shock so get into the routine of leaving a can or two of rainwater inside to acclimatise to room temperature for a few hours before applying it to your plants.


Plants may slow down during autumn but not all snooze, in fact some spring into life and throw out new growth. Be mindful to reduce pumping feed into houseplants; if plants are actively growing then continue with a dilute feed of Plantsmith’s Fortifying Houseplant Feed & Tonic but give cacti and succulents a break.

Misting houseplant with Perfecting Care Mist
Mist houseplants regularly to increase humidity. Image: Debi Holland


Houseplants hate draughts so don’t be afraid to move your plants around to different locations within your home to keep the temperature consistent. Avoid draughty windows or doors.

Clean Foliage

Clean foliage means nothing hinders the path of light to leaves and although houseplants are low maintenance throughout autumn, it does help to keep on top of dust. Dusting helps maximise the amount of light reaching leaves. Grab a damp cloth and wipe over leaves to remove dust or for extra dazzle use Plantsmith’s Beautifying Leaf Shine Spray which will not only clear blocked pores of dust and enhance leaves’ characteristic shine, but its cold-pressed natural oils act as a conditioner and provides natural anti-fungal protection whilst leaving foliage clear to photosynthesise.

Misting large leaves of houseplant with Beautifying Leaf Shine spray
Keep foliage clean and free of dust so plants can maximise the amount of light needed for photosynthesis. Image: Debi Holland


Our warm homes act can become cosy retreats for some creatures in autumn seeking refuge from the weather, so check your plant’s foliage and soil regularly for unwanted visitors.

Fungus Gnats can be difficult to get rid of. These small black flies are pretty harmless to your plants but infestations can be annoying so try a combination of treatments to break their cycle of life.

Fungus Gnats lay eggs in moist soil so check the soil surface of pots, if it is crawling then take action! Spray soil and leaves with Protecting Bug Control Spray and let soil dry out between waters. Water the base not the top soil. Top dress your pots with sand or gravel and set up sticky traps then water in biological control, parasitic nematodes, Steinernema feltiae.

Embrace autumn

Savour a slower pace of life this autumn. As the evenings get shorter, there is less time to potter round the garden after work so spend the evenings with your houseplants. Removing dead leaves, misting, cleaning, watering or simply sitting looking at your houseplants can be an immensely mindful, relaxing experience. Embrace these longer autumn eves; appreciate and enjoy.

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