Ask an Expert
This new column of the Grad Gazette will feature YOUR questions each month! We’d like to hear what’s on your mind, whether it be maintaining a healthy work-life balance, tips for sticking to that workout routine you just haven’t been able to keep up with, managing a conflict in your workspace or even just how to keep your houseplants alive the whole winter. We’ll ask your questions to University or Baltimore community experts and post the answers in the next issue of the Grad Gazette.
Have a question? Submit it here. You can remain anonymous!
Last month, a reader wanted to know:
"Hello, I have a perennial plant (Hosta) that is beginning to turn yellow. Wanted to know how to take care of it during this time, considering the winter season is here?"
Dear Reader, this is an excellent question and one many of us struggle with each winter! According to the University of Maryland Home & Garden Information Center, "the number one reason for dying plants is usually overwatering." The article countinues to say that, "During the winter months when most plants have reduced growth rates try to allow most of the soil to dry out like a freshly wrung out dish towel. Not bone dry, but not too moist." Similarly, this blog post by local Baltimore nursery Greenfields states that "Many tropical plants like hibiscus, banana and brugmansia should be watered sparingly in the winter as they are resting." Yellowing leaves are a classic sign of too much water, so I'd try watering your Hosta less over the winter than you normally do in the summer when it's in its active growing season (assuming you brought it inside for the winter! If it's still outside, it's normal for the leaves to die over the winter as the plant becomes dormant). Each time you water, make sure you do so until the water trickles out the bottom of the pot. Instead of watering on a schedule, it can help to stick your finger into the soil every so often--only water when the soil is dry down to your second knuckle or so. It can also be challenging to ensure your houseplants are getting enough light during the winter (espeically if your Hosta lives outside in the summer), so it's also worth considering getting a cheap LED growlight to supplement your plant's light.