November 01, 2023
By Maddy Hogan
Indoor tropical house plants are a delight for any home or office, adding a touch of nature's beauty to our surroundings. These lush, green companions not only purify the air, but also provide us with a soothing aesthetic. While they thrive throughout most of the year, there comes a time when they need a break from consistent growth, known as dormancy. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of indoor tropical house plant dormancy, including when it occurs, what it means, and how to care for your plants during this vital phase. At Riza, we are here to educate you on all the phases of your indoor plants and want to provide you with the resources, tools, and information to ensure that your plants thrive year-round, even if they aren’t visibly growing.
Dormancy is a natural, seasonal occurrence in many plants, both indoors and outdoors. For indoor tropical house plants, dormancy is a period when growth slows down significantly or halts altogether. This phase typically occurs during the winter months, from late fall to early spring, depending on your geographic location and the specific needs of your plants. In Napa, we are in zone 9B, and find that the dormancy process begins in October and continues until approximately April. This is the time when the days grow shorter, the temperatures drop, and natural light becomes more scarce and less strong.
During dormancy, indoor tropical house plants experience several changes, including but not limited to the following:
Reduced Growth: The most noticeable change is a significant decrease in new growth. Your plants might stop producing new leaves or even shed some of the older ones. It is natural for all plants to drop or shed leaves that it no longer needs after a certain time, so this is not something to worry about. You can always email us photos of your plants to confirm whether something more drastic than dormancy is occurring.
Caring for Your Plants During Dormancy
Now that you understand what dormancy is and when it occurs, here are some essential care tips to ensure your indoor tropical house plants continue to thrive, just in less obvious ways, during this period:
Some indoor tropical plants, like certain types of philodendron and snake plants, don't undergo a traditional dormancy phase and continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate, throughout the year. Plant species that are most likely to be impacted by dormancy include alocasias and carnivorous plants. Alocasias growth will slow, and perhaps cease all together, which is often characterized by dropping more leaves than usual. It is important not to panic when this happens and know that your precious elephant ears are just resting and rejuvenating for a brighter and more fruitful growing season. Carnivorous plants are subject to a similar dormancy pattern, for example pitcher plants will often experience withering to their pitchers. Again, it is important to allow your pitcher plant to rest during this time and provide an environment with lower light and temperatures, while also pulling back on your watering. For other carnivorous plants, sundews or venus flytraps in particular, it is important to mimic their natural environment during their dormancy or resting period. These plants are native to nutrient-poor tropical environments, so ensure that you are providing less sunlight, cooler temperatures while avoiding frost or freezing, and water significantly less during the cooler months.
Dormancy serves as a natural survival strategy for many indoor tropical plants, as it conserves energy and resources when environmental conditions aren't optimal for growth. In their natural habitats, some indoor tropical plant varieties would experience dormancy as a response to seasonal changes and recreating these conditions indoors can help your plants thrive during the slower months.
Understanding indoor tropical house plant dormancy is vital for ensuring the well-being of your leafy companions. By recognizing when dormancy occurs, adjusting your care routine accordingly, and providing the right environment, you can help your plants rest and rejuvenate for the coming growing season. Embrace this phase as a time of respite and reflection for both you and your beloved indoor tropical house plants, knowing that they'll soon burst back to life, lush and vibrant.
1300 1st Street Suite 355
Napa California 94559
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ROOTED IN NAPA
Riza (noun); Greek for ‘Roots’. Riza’s mission is to connect people through plants. We handpick the highest quality plants, ceramics, and indoor garden supplies for our customers, and consider ourselves a hub for all things relating to indoor plants. Whether you want to connect more with nature, brighten up your living space, or learn about caring for your new indoor plant, we take the time to work with your skill level and environment to find the perfect piece of greenery.