27 Best Houseplants To Brighten Your Home Through The Winter
Houseplants are the best way to inject color into your home throughout winter. If you’re looking for winter flowering houseplants, colorful foliage, or just plants that won’t die on you when temperatures drop, houseplant expert Madison Moulton gives you 27 options for your indoor garden.
Winter can be a tough time for garden lovers in cooler climates. Although many outdoor plants will survive and look good when temperatures dip, the bright colors and intricate flowers are usually gone by December. Winter houseplants can keep the beauty going throughout the cold season.
It’s helpful to focus on your indoor garden to keep up your gardening energy. Keeping plants indoors over winter protects them from the harsh elements, greatly expanding the list of things you can grow. Many winter houseplants also flower (or can be forced to flower) over the cooler months to instantly brighten your indoor space.
These 27 winter houseplants are great for injecting some color into your home in winter, whether that be through flowers or colorful foliage. There are also a few tough plants that won’t look sad in winter, requiring little attention to stay happy until the growing season continues again.
You can’t go wrong with a Thanksgiving cactus if you’re looking for early winter color and interest in a houseplant. This houseplant is named after the period it typically flowers – around the Thanksgiving holiday – making it an essential part of your holiday décor. Don’t confuse it with the Christmas cactus, which will flower closer to the December holiday.
There are some tricks to getting your Thanksgiving cactus to flower at the perfect time. As long as you time it correctly, you’ll enjoy the blooms not only at Thanksgiving dinner but also in the early weeks of winter.
Of all the holiday cacti, Christmas cactus is the most sought-after. This species is a true winter bloomer, adding a gorgeous burst of color to your home throughout winter. Even when not flowering, the lobed stems still provide ample interest, especially when planted in hanging baskets and kept around eye level.
Although it is technically a cactus, this species does not appreciate the conditions you may expect. Originating from humid jungles and growing attached to trees, Christmas cacti thrive in bright indirect light and high humidity. Replicating their native habitats will ensure you get the best possible flowers year after year in winter.
Cyclamens are not majorly popular houseplants for most of the year. However, once winter rolls around, they truly become the star houseplants of the show. Their adorable blooms, emerging in a range of eye-catching colors, pop up in the middle of winter and stick around until early spring.
One of the major benefits of keeping cyclamen in your indoor garden is the wide variety of species to choose from. You can pick a favorite that’s perfectly suited to your interior design or start a collection to gather them all. That’s certainly my preference.
When you think about indoor flowering plants, African violet is probably one of the first to come to mind. Their pearlescent blooms appear in purples, pinks, and whites so vivid you’d be forgiven for thinking they aren’t real at all.
African violets can bloom continuously throughout the year, including in winter. They need plenty of bright indirect light and moisture to provide the resources required to flower. Feeding at the right time and repotting often can also help improve your chances of seeing blooms over the winter months.
Cineraria is usually grown as an annual outdoors or a short-lived perennial in warmer climates. But once winter arrives, this plant becomes a wonderful addition to your indoor holiday décor. Covered in color, the daisy-like flowers will instantly brighten up gloomy winters.
While you can buy flowering cineraria plants around the holiday season, it’s also possible to sow your own for better control over flowering time. Planting in mid to late summer will ensure the plant starts blooming in December, continuing into the later winter months.
Several flowering bulbs make ideal winter houseplants, thanks to the protection our homes provide. With control over environmental conditions, you can decide on the flowering time for your bulbs – a process known as forcing.
Amaryllis is one of the easiest bulbs to grow indoors and is often used as holiday gifts or décor. Allowing them to rest in summer in a dark place for around eight weeks will signal to the plant that it’s time to flower. Place it on a sunny windowsill in late fall and watch the massive flowers emerge in winter.
If amaryllis is the most popular indoor bulb, paperwhite narcissus is certainly a close second. Flower stalks are packed with stark white blooms (hence the name) that have a gentle, sweet scent, stealing the show wherever they are placed.
Paperwhites bloom in around four weeks, so keep that in mind if you’re timing planting for winter flowers. You can also stagger your planting slightly to extend the blooming season throughout winter. These flowers look best when planted en masse – don’t be afraid to pack the bulbs in tight.
Every year, gardeners look forward to the emergence of adorable snowdrops, signaling the tail end of winter and the start of spring. But if you’re growing indoors, you can bring this excitement forward a couple of weeks by forcing the bulbs to flower throughout winter.
Since the bulbs are small, don’t plant them too deeply in their containers. Keep them in a dark and cool spot for several weeks, then bring them into bright, indirect light when you want to encourage flowering. As they prefer cool conditions, avoid harsh direct sun or high temperatures indoors, which may prevent flowering.
Hyacinth is another beautiful bulb suitable for growing indoors, flowering reliably in spots with bright indirect sun. Their intricate flowers produce an incredible display in many colors, from warm peaches and reds to cool blues and purples. Who needs short-lived cut flowers when you can have hyacinths that last for weeks?
Although you can grow them in soil, there is a more exciting way to display your bulbs. Either purchase specialized glasses that keep the bulb dry while allowing the roots to grow into the soil or place the bulbs on a shallow layer of pebbles to keep all the action visible.
Clivias are sensitive to cold, growing in USDA zones 9 and above when planted outdoors. However, their love of shady conditions makes them suitable for indoor growth. These plants don’t mind being confined to containers either, with the strappy green leaves arching over the sides.
Growing indoors in winter opens up a world of growing possibilities for clivias. Choose larger varieties to fill corners or more compact species for table displays. While classic orange clivias are the favorites, there are many other colors available as well.
A classic gifting plant, moth orchids are one of the most widely grown orchids indoors. They are famous for their intricate flowers, emerging on top of tall flower spikes in almost any gorgeous color imaginable (including blue).
You can typically find moth orchids in flower at any time of year. To sell the plants, growers force them to flower at certain times throughout the year. However, if you keep your moth orchid longer than its initial season, new flowers should emerge in fall and last into the early winter months.
For those who already have a few moth orchids and may be looking for something a little different, try cymbidiums. These orchids are ideal for winter indoor gardens, preferring cooler temperatures and flowering throughout the winter months.
Although they look intricate, these plants are not difficult to care for. As long as they receive enough bright indirect light to promote flowering and regular watering in well-draining soil, even beginners won’t have trouble keeping these plants alive.
Members of the Begonia genus don’t only come with adorable flowers but also often feature bright and patterned leaves that add a pop of color year-round, including in winter. Tender begonias are typically kept as houseplants. Wax begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) does well in containers, but angel wing begonia (Begonia maculata) is one of the most famous houseplant species.
Begonias flower prolifically in shady conditions, continuing to bloom indoors in bright indirect light. Most species usually bloom in summer, but the ability to control conditions and protect them from the cold indoors can extend the season much closer to winter.
Succulents don’t always make great indoor plants, thanks to their sunny, hot, and dry native environments. There are a few exceptions, though, and the kalanchoe is one of them. Native to Madagascar, this succulent appreciates tropical conditions and will flower happily in bright, indirect light indoors.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is the most common indoor species, with clusters of flowers in bright reds, oranges, yellows, and more. But there are many more to choose from with unique characteristics, like the fluffy Kalanchoe tomentosa or the spiky Kalanchoe delagoensis.
Anthuriums are houseplant must-haves. They have been indoor garden staples since the 1970s when the colorful spathes and large leaves took center stage in every home. As long as temperatures don’t drop too low inside your home, you can enjoy anthurium blooms almost all year – including in winter.
If you’re looking for décor for the holiday season, classic red anthuriums have you covered. But if you want something a little different for the new year and later winter months, there are colors for every occasion.
A relative of the traditional anthurium, the peace lily is another houseplant commonly given as a gift. The stark white spathes can stand out wherever they are placed, especially when contrasting with the deep green and glossy leaves.
Peace lilies provide plenty of winter interest, even if they aren’t fully in flower. Remember that growers also force these plants to flower before sale, so don’t be disappointed if yours doesn’t flower as prolifically, especially in winter.
To brighten up your winter interior with something other than traditional houseplant green, look no further than purple shamrock. This houseplant has risen in popularity over the last few years, largely thanks to its unique shape and dramatic coloring.
The small leaves of purple shamrock have a triangular shape (hence the scientific name Oxalis triangularis) and move throughout the day, much like prayer plants. They also produce tiny flowers dotted around the foliage in a contrasting white or pastel color.
Do you consider yourself a black thumb that can’t keep any houseplants alive? Jade plants will turn this perception around. These succulents are incredibly tough and adaptive, handling neglect with ease. They also don’t struggle much in winter, even flowering in the right conditions.
Jade plants produce clusters of adorable white flowers in winter, with a sweet scent that can quickly fill a small room. They don’t flower often indoors due to the differing conditions from their native habitats. However, if you give them enough direct sun and don’t overwater, you may enjoy the blooms indoors along with your other winter flowers.
Hoyas are wonderfully forgiving houseplants in the right environments, growing best when given little attention. Known as wax plants, several species develop clusters of tiny, sticky flowers with interesting scents, from floral to grassy and more.
Many hoya species store water in their broad leaves, allowing them to withstand a missed watering or two. However, if you have one of the species with thinner foliage (like Hoya linearis) and still want them to flower, don’t let them dry out too much.
If you don’t have any outdoor growing space to plant a sprawling tree, growing citrus indoors is the next best thing. Citrus trees typically appreciate warmer temperatures and the protection of our homes throughout the cooler months. They need plenty of sunlight indoors (or a grow light if you don’t have the right spot), but other than that, they are no more difficult to handle than other houseplants.
The most exciting time for indoor citrus trees is winter, when you can harvest the ripe fruits from your tree. They won’t likely produce many fruits while indoors and confined to a pot, but you can still enjoy the few you can pick fresh. They also make great garnish for cocktails, an ideal party trick when you can pick them straight from your indoor tree.
Any list of tough and resilient houseplants has to include Chinese evergreens. These tropical plants are known for handling almost anything you throw at them, from missed watering to low light. They can also manage temperature dips without showing too many signs of struggle, perking up again around springtime.
Another reason why Aglaonemas are great for winter is their colorful foliage. Who needs bright flowers when you can enjoy the bright patterns of Chinese evergreen foliage year-round?
Dracaenas are just as tough as Chinese evergreens but have a more structural look suited to contemporary or minimalist interiors. They also grow quite large indoors and can fill empty corners in your winter indoor garden without trouble.
Dracaena marginata is a personal favorite, with a red pop of color perfect for decorating around the holiday season. Several houseplant species also fall under this genus, from lucky bamboo to snake plants mentioned next.
Snake plants are so tough that they are often labeled almost impossible to kill. You’ll see them often in malls or offices with very little natural light and harsh conditions – just one indicator of their resilience. Snake plants can also handle slightly cooler temperatures than other tropical houseplants, making them easy additions to your winter indoor garden.
The tall, spiked leaves add an excellent structural look wherever they are placed, ideal for contrasting with cascading leafy plants. If your plant becomes overgrown, remove some leaves or plantlets to propagate – they make ideal holiday gifts.
If you’ve filled every surface in your home with winter-friendly houseplants, it’s time to use up the vertical space by hanging a few baskets full of pothos. These tough plants grow vigorously throughout the year and aren’t bothered by much, including winter conditions. They are also great for filling vases, using your rooted cuttings to grow even more plants.
Considering the variety between cultivars, it can be tough to pick the right one for your space. If you don’t want to collect a couple, consider your available space and decide what fits best. Heavily variegated cultivars grow best in brighter spots, while those with solid leaves can handle low light with ease.
ZZ plants are another species considered almost impossible to kill and great for beginners. I’ve had several around my home and garden that I’ve honestly forgotten about, and they simply refuse to die. As I write this, one plant I propagated months ago and haven’t watered much since has just pushed out a new stem.
ZZ plants are not bothered by indoor winter temperatures, although growth will slow. The bright green leaves can uplift gloomy interiors, but if you want to lean into the winter chill, you can also opt for the dramatic Raven cultivar with almost black leaves.
Aloe vera is recognized worldwide for its use in beauty products and as a topical sunburn gel. But they also make great houseplants if you have a sunny enough windowsill to keep them happy. They remain relatively compact when confined to containers and have a unique spiky look you won’t find in most houseplants.
If you’re a forgetful waterer, this is the best winter houseplant. These plants store water in their juicy leaves, giving them the ability to handle periods of drought with ease.
If traditional houseplants aren’t quite what you pictured for your winter indoor garden, try starting an herb garden indoors instead. Mint, thyme, and many other herbs grow well indoors as long as they are given enough light to be productive.
Many common herbs are not frost-tolerant and need to be planted in spring each year to prevent damage. However, if you keep them protected indoors, you can grow a productive herb garden year-round, even in winter.
When growth slows in your garden over the winter months, you can continue the excitement with these winter houseplants. Whether you want a pop of color or something that will survive without much attention, this list has you covered.