The Q&A Archives: Houseplants & Kerosene Heater

Question: We have a kerosene heater we use in the winter , I have an awful time trying to keep my plants healthy and alive
while we are using the heater.

Answer: So long as the heater is working properly and the fresh air flow is in accordance with the manufacturer's operating instructions, in my experience kerosene heating does not damage plants. You may however be seeing the results of the dry indoor air we often experience during the winter heating season, possibly combined with lower light levels due to the seasonal change. You might try grouping your plants together, running a humidifier or setting your plants on pebble trays (A tray of pebbles with water up to the base of the pebbles, set the pot on the pebbles so that the base of the pot is just above the water level.) to increase the humidity and you might add some supllemental lighting if you don't have a truly bright and sunny room to keep them in. If temperatures are fairly low and the light is reduced, your plants should naturally slow their growth. When this happens, they will need less water and little or no fertilizer until they begin to wake up again in the spring. One last thought, make sure the plants are away from drafts, both hot and cold.

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