Hi! I’m Hilton Carter — a plant and interior stylist, artist and author from Baltimore, the greatest city in America. (Don’t quote me, but we all know it’s the truth.)
What I hope to grow here is your passion for plants and your knowledge of them, while also sharing my ever-changing opinion of them in today’s design. I’m grateful to The Banner for letting me plant my seed in this space to share my knowledge and the knowledge of my team, twice a month in this column.
At the beginning of this year, I made a resolution to stop adopting half-dead plants from others. As rewarding as it is to see these plants revive and thrive under my care, I already have my hands full with the 300-plus plants I care for in my home and studio. With my plant fam at maximum capacity, I decided I have to be choosier about who else joins us.
Winter is the absolute worst time to be a plant parent. It’s cold. It’s dry. There is barely any sunlight. Every crispy tropical plant you have is screaming for humidity and sun. So it’s crucial to step up your plant care game.
Here are my three tips to make sure your plants thrive through the colder months.
Maximize your light
I know, I know — you can’t just shout, “Let there be light!” into the abyss to make it happen. But hear me out. You can bring more light to your plants with simple tricks such as cleaning your windows and wiping down your foliage. Dust and grime accumulate over time on your windows and plants, reducing the light exposure that reaches the tissue of your plants. You could also simply bring in grow lights to make those dark corners feel like summer to your plants.
Adjust your watering and humidity
With less hot sunlight coming into your home, your soil won’t dry as fast as it did in those warmer months. So it’s important to be mindful of how often you’re watering your plants and adjust accordingly. It can be easy to overwater this time of year, so invest in a moisture meter and water only when your plant tells you it needs it.
My skin will be the first to tell you — winter makes it cold but also makes it dry. With many of us bringing tropical plants into our home, it’s important to mimic their natural habitat for them to thrive. So right about now is the perfect time to get those humidifiers out and let them do the work. Misting your plants a few times a day helps as well, and it is an easy way to take a break in your day for a little plant meditation.
Take your plants for a spin
No, I don’t mean strapping them into the passenger seat. With there not being as much light coming into our homes, the sides of the plant that face into the home aren’t getting much light at all. To make sure every part of your plant has its moment in the light, rotate your plant 45 degrees every week during the winter to help ensure balanced growth.
Just remember — we’re not the only ones impatiently waiting for the warmth of spring. Your plants are too, and these tips can keep them happy (and alive!) until then. And, if you’ve had success during the winter with any of these tips or others, please share them with us. As they say, “it takes a village,” and I’m excited to help all of you grow your best.
Hilton Carter is a plant and interior stylist, artist and author from Baltimore.