Healthy houseplants require little attention during the spring and summer. During these times, the home is filled with fresh, warm air and the sun streams into every room, so all you need to do is keep them moist for them to thrive. But then autumn creeps in, followed by those long, chilly days and nights of winter, when almost all plants struggle to survive (much less prosper).
To keep your indoor garden thriving and beautiful this winter, all you have to do is choose the right plants for your environment. And whether your home suffers from low light, too much forced air heat, chilly drafts, dry air, or a combination of these conditions, there are houseplants out there that are sure to fit right in.
This hardy plant can survive almost any indoor conditions. The key to keeping it healthy is very minimal watering. You should also wait until the soil is almost bone dry before watering, taking extra care not to overdo it. Keep it in a dark corner or hallway, and it will brighten even the most overcast days of winter.
Since ferns are most commonly found growing on dark forest floors in the shade of many trees, they don’t need much light. However, they do require a lot of humidity and water. Keep the soil in its pot moist at all times, mist the lacy fronds daily, and give it a home that gets minimal light for at least part of the day, and it will thrive all winter.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
This large-leaf plant often boasts gorgeous patterns in various colors. It loves low light but hates overwatering, which is easy to do if you’re watering it in a dimly lit room. If it starts to droop, set it near a lamp for a few hours a day every now and then to give it a boost.
Houseplants for Too Much Heat
Many people crank up the furnace during winter months to counter the chill in the air from the snow and ice outdoors. Cacti and desert plants are used to high heat and dry air, so they’re ideal as winter houseplants. In fact, some cacti thrive when perched on a piece of wood set directly over the radiator. And don’t be alarmed if some desert plants drop their leaves during cold weather, as they just use that dormant time to prepare to start growing leaves again in the spring.
Wax Plant (Hoya)
People known for killing houseplants will find wax plants a challenge. These thick-leaved plants with thick stems store water internally and release it as needed in hot, dry environments. Hang it in a basket, and it’ll remain healthy and self-sufficient for two to three weeks — even if you forget it’s there.
Houseplants for Drafty Rooms
This robust plant actually thrives in drafty rooms and isn’t at all deterred by low light. The blooms are reminiscent of a pristinely maintained public outdoor garden, emerging in brilliant shades of orange and yellow. Clivia also likes small doses of water. Lightly water them every other day and enjoy the bright colors against the gray background of winter.
There’s no better way to shield plants from chilly drafts than to enclose them in glass. A terrarium protects plants much like a greenhouse and retains humidity naturally. Mosses, ferns, and fern allies all thrive in in them, and they add an interesting touch to any decor.
While many plants need an unvarying environment to flourish, the amazing jade plant does not. You can set it near an open window during the winter or plant it next to a radiator, and it will stay healthy. Just be sure not to overwater it. It’s a succulent, so watering it every three weeks is ideal.
Houseplants for Dry Air
The philodendron is one of the most popular and easiest to maintain houseplants in a dry-air atmosphere. Like many other easy-to-care-for varieties, it doesn’t like a lot of water. But since the philodendron is usually planted in a large, deep pot, it’s hard to tell exactly when it needs water. To determine if it really needs water in the future, simply lift the pot up. If it feels light, that means the potting soil is dry all the way to the bottom and needs a healthy drink. Overwatering causes philodendron leaves to droop and yellow, ruining its magnificent profile.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
This plant thrives even under the care of the most neglectful people. It thrives on being left alone and kept dry, so dry air is actually ideal for its success. The snake plant also needs minimal light, so if you have a dry, gloomy room that needs a plant to liven it up, this one is ideal.