It may seem like winter is nothing but a death sentence for your beloved houseplants, but the coldest months are simply the time to use more specialized plant care. Far from being a period of bland inactivity or failed household foliage, winter can still be a healthy time for your plants. Winter even has the potential to bring out the most vibrant colors and blooms of the entire year for some plant species, including camellias, winter jasmines, and many types of witch hazel.

During winter, many plants undergo dormancy, in which they are still alive, but suspend growing processes. Different plant species employ a variety of genetic adaptations designed to maintain health against the dropping temperatures and lack of sunlight.

For instance, seeds from plants native to colder climates spend the winter metabolizing to prepare for spring. Photosynthesis and respiration both slow down for many plants, thus minimizing the amount of sugar the plants have to metabolize in the cold. A plant shedding its leaves is also strategic, as doing so allows for nutrient conservation.

Eventually, once temperatures rise again, plants will know to end their dormancy periods. This is largely due to plants' "temperature memories,” which enable them to keep track of interactions between proteins and measure time and temperature to deduce when spring has arrived.

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