How to care for your houseplants this autumn. An ultimate guide.

Autumn is coming, but are you and your houseplants ready?

The change in seasons also means a change in how we care for our houseplants. Here in our houseplant shop in Banana Block, East Belfast, we are busy moving plants about to make the most of the changing light levels.

I'm also starting to think about keeping my plants warm and increasing humidity. I will also be rigorously testing the moisture levels of the soil and changing how I water and feed too.

In this comprehensive guide, I'm going to tell you how to care for your houseplants this autumn with lots of practical tips to keep your plant babies happy and healthy.

But first, let's go through some of the common questions I get asked at this time of the year when it comes to caring for your houseplant in autumn.


Should you feed houseplants in autumn?

During autumn, your houseplants are growing much more slowly because there is less light. That means they need less nutrients.

So while they need that food during the summer months when they are in the growth season, in autumn you need to reduce your fertilisation to zero.

Spring is when you want to start thinking about feeding again, when the plant is in active growth.

Autumn houseplant care tips. Stop feeding in autumn. Woman watering a hanging houseplant.

Should I repot in autumn?

Your plants should be starting to go dormant now so they should not be growing as fast or need a repot. However, if your plant is busting out of its pot and looking very unhappy you could risk a repot at the beginning of autumn.

Go for a pot that is just slightly bigger. Check that there is plenty of drainage and use potting compost suited to the plant type.


How should you look after plants in autumn?

Here is my list of what you should do to care for your houseplants this autumn. Even if the daytime temperatures are high, you can get surprise early morning frosts and low temperatures in autumn.

If they are coming back in, then also check them for pests.

Bring houseplants inside

Did any of your houseplants have a summer holiday outside? Well now is the time to bring them back in again.

Autumn houseplant care tips. Cleaning leaves.

Clean your leaves

As the light levels drop you want to give your plants every chance to thrive. Clean the dust off your leaves now, and help them maximise any photosynthesis during the darker months.

Check for pests

Autumn is a season when certain pests become more active. To ensure your houseplants stay healthy and pest-free, follow these strategies:

Begin by thoroughly inspecting your plants. Look for signs of common pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. If you spot any unwanted visitors, act swiftly to address the issue.

Try using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or a mixture of water and dish soap to gently remove pests from your plants. These natural solutions are effective and safe for your indoor greenery.


Tidy up dead or dying leaves

It's a good idea to remove any brown or yellowing leaves right now. This will not only keep the plant looking tidier but will remove hiding places for pests.

Don't forget to check around the soil too for decaying leaves, and remove those as well.

Image of a succulent plant on a book. Adjust watering. Houseplant care tips in autumn.

Adjusting your watering

Autumn's cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours mean that your houseplants require less water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it's crucial to adjust your watering routine accordingly.

But as I always say, never water on a schedule. This is especially important in autumn as you can get the occasional late "Indian Summer" where daytime temperatures soar.

So instead always check your houseplant's soil first by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the soil – if it feels dry, it's time to water.

You can also cut right back on watering your cacti and succulents like the Snake Plant. They may only need water every couple of months. But always check first.


Protect from extreme heat and cold

Autumn is when the temperatures will start to fluctuate and we need to take care to protect houseplants more. In the UK, things are unpredictable. You could have a warm autumn or a very cold one. The key is to be ready for either.

Normally though, our radiators, cookers, heaters, open fires are all starting to come back on as it gets colder. Any houseplants near heat sources risk drying out and leaves burning and shrivelling.

 Houseplants on windowsills will now be vulnerable to condensation on the glass as well as and being trapped in the cold, behind curtains.

Do an autumnal houseplant audit. Walk around your house and see which plants need to be moved now.

You also want to check for drafts in your house. Fiddle Leaf Figs hate being in drafty places where the temperature fluctuates. African violets also hate cold drafts.

Any tropical plants will want a warm environment. So move them to rooms you inhabit the most during autumn to keep them warm. Palms, bananas, Bird of Paradise and Bromeliads will welcome being in a room with a nice constant warmth now.

Increase humidity

Although reducing watering is key to autumn houseplant care, you may need to up your humidity.

Even if you're holding off putting the heating on, the ambient air may still be getting drier. As soon as you do switch the heating on though, the air will start getting even drier. Your rainforest-dwelling houseplants will now want some humidity and damp air about them.

Try placing your pots on a tray filled with water and pebbles can help maintain humidity levels without overwatering. As the water evaporates, it creates a microclimate around your plants.

You could also bunch moisture lovers together too and mist them in a batch.

If you see your plants leaves going brown at the tips, then that's a sign to up your misting. Just be careful not to directly mist the leaves. You want to mist the air around the plant instead.

Also, remember to move houseplants away from radiators or open fires to avoid them drying out.

Manage light levels for your houseplants in autumn

It's the worst part of autumn, isn't it? The shorter days.

With less daylight hours in autumn, your houseplants may receive less sunlight. Here's how to ensure they get the light they need:

Determine the natural light available in your space.

Different houseplants have varying light requirements, so place them accordingly – low-light plants away from direct sunlight, and high-light plants closer to windows.

You could also start rotating your houseplants regularly to ensure all sides receive equal sunlight exposure.

If natural light is limited, consider using grow lights to supplement your plants' needs. LED grow lights are energy-efficient and provide the right spectrum of light for growth.

If you've had some plants in shadier spots in your home, it may be time to move them to brighter spots. Remember, some plants will not like harsh autumn sunshine - always check what their natural habitat is.

Buying new plants this autumn?

Always go with a specialist houseplant seller. They can advise you on how to care for your new houseplant, and help it adjust to your home in autumn.

Have a cold house? Here are a few adaptable, cold-tolerant houseplants that will be happy in temperatures of around 8-10oC...for a while!

  • Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)- pretty bomb-proof with its thick fleshy leaves and cold tolerant
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) - a perfect beginner plant and did you know it is happy at 7oC, although they prefer things warm
  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) - this one can survive down as low as 4oC
  • Dracaena (Dracaena spp.) - nice and hardy and very adaptable
  • Cast Iron Plant - as the name suggests, tough as nails
  • Snake Plant - the ultimate beginner plant that doesn't like neglect and will be absolutely fine down to about 10oC
  • Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) - they are also happy in around 8oC for a while
  • Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera. They need things to get cold to form buds.
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) - the ultimate hardy houseplant will also tolerate some cold.
  • Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) - you'll always see this one pop up in supermarkets around this time for its brightly coloured flowers, but it can also survive down to 10oC
  • Clivia - super resilient and beautiful flowers too
  • ZZ Plants ( Zamioculcas zamiifolia. They'll tolerate down to 8oC


At The Green East in East Belfast, we're passionate about helping you care for your houseplants year-round. Autumn may bring changes in temperature and light, but with the right adjustments to your pest management, watering, feeding, and light levels, your indoor jungle can thrive even in the cooler months.

Remember, every plant sale should come with valuable advice, and we're here to support you on your houseplant journey. Happy houseplant gardening!