What Happens in the Fall that is Good for Houseplants?

by | Nov 17, 2020 | 5 comments

Everything we’ve heard and read has led us to believe fall is hard for our houseplants as the days get shorter, and it certainly can be. The amount of time they receive light and are actively photosynthesizing is greatly reduced and some of our houseplants suffer a bit. I live in a house that is in the sun all day year-round, so my plants do fine with the fall/winter light. On the other hand, my friend Susan (find her on FaceBook at Gardener Sue’s News-great gardening tips!) lives in an extremely shady yard. So what happens in the fall that is good for her houseplants? The leaves fall off the trees leaving her with sunlight in her house!

More light

When the leaves fall in her garden, her houseplants actually receive MORE sun than they did all summer long, even with the shorter days. She says they struggle when the leaves are on the trees. This may be true for your houseplants, as well. With the leaves off the deciduous trees, her plants now have almost completely unobstructed light other than the thin shadows of the tree branches. This would be a different story if the trees were evergreen.

Move your plants around

Even if you don’t live in the shadows of large deciduous trees the light levels in the fall and winter are exponentially less. Plants that may be doing well in a north or east window will do better if moved to a west or south window for the winter. This would work well for most flowering plants that really need more light to bloom than they will be receiving in the fall/winter. I hadn’t really considered this idea because I personally have no way to move plants around too much because every window is FULL of plants. Susan pointed out to me that most people have a FEW plants that can easily be moved, not 100s. Good point, Susan. If you have a plant that struggles every winter, see if you have a sunnier spot to move it to.

African violet

An African violet could use a bit more light in the winter months.

Try a new plant

Why not try a new plant this winter? While you have the extra light, buy a plant you’ve been wanting to try but didn’t think you had enough light for. When the leaves come back in the spring, take it out to your patio for the summer or give it to a friend. We could all use a little green in our lives all the time, but especially as we enter the dark days of winter. Though you may not have had luck before because of the shade in your yard, try again with the leaves off the trees.

Thanks for all the good ideas, Susan. It’s great to have a fresh point of view.

Have a great week, plant friends, and see if you have some plants that would do better with a different view! Let me know in the comments if you move your plants to different windows in the fall.

Until next week,


More From My Blog

Leave a Comment


  1. Julia Hofley

    Great post Lisa. Fresh thinking about how the light changes for our indoor gardens. The oaks dropped their leaves 6 weeks earlier than last year and the indoor light is noticeably brighter.
    I’m inspired after reading this and have decided that 2021 will be the year of the begonia for me.
    Time for a shopping trip soon!

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Thanks, Divya!

  2. Linda Wright

    Hi Lisa! Love your plant wisdom! My plants think it is summer & I have all kinds of new growth. I hadn’t paid attention until I read this post! I too have MANY plants & can’t move them but they all are happy the leaves that cover the windows are gone for a while!

    • Lisa Steinkopf

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks so much! It does make a difference when the leaves fall. Our plants are happy to get some more light.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest