The Best Plants to Grow Indoors This Winter

by Sarah Gardiner

Sarah is a horticulturist with a passion for edible and cottage gardens. 

As you might have already come to realise, our ability to keep plants thriving and healthy all comes down to putting them in the right spot. House plants bring life and interest to even the most dull of rooms, creating a point of interest particularly throughout the grey months of winter. Having success growing plants over the cooler months typically comes down to understanding that our plants all have different needs and that throughout winter our plants are generally not growing actively. During this time, less water and fertiliser are required and a good rule of thumb to stick to is reducing the water by half compared to their growing season.

During these winter months, light is often limited in our houses and it is important to have your plants placed in the most brightly lit positions. In corners of the house where light has reduced, move these to a brighter spot like a room with windows that receive as much sun throughout the day as possible. Winter sun is less harsh than summer sun so it is safe to say that most plants requiring bright light will be able to tolerate this. Remember that many of the plants we grow indoors hate cold draughts, so it is often a good idea to keep them out of doorways or open windows.

Here are our top picks for tough and hardy plants to grow indoors this winter…

1. Happy Plant - Dracaena fragrans

An easy-care plant when kept in a warm position with morning sun. The large, yellow and green leaves will bring a tropical feel to any room. Keep out of cold draughts in winter and water every couple of weeks, when the soil has completely dried down. 

2. Spider Plant - Chlorophytum comosum

Name an easier plant to grow - we’ll wait! When grown in a large hanging basket, Chlorophytum is a beautiful statement plant, bringing height and layers to a room with their canopy of pups that fall beneath in masses. While they store water in the tubers beneath the soil surface, these plants are not sensitive to the cold and will continue to grow all winter long. During the winter months, grow spider plants in a window with bright, indirect light and water when the soil has completely dried down.

3. Cacti species

We all knew cactus would make the list. With their ability to store water, they won’t need much love at all! Choose cacti like Mammillaria, Euphorbia and Gymnocalycium for hardy winter picks. Fill your sunny window sills with clusters in terracotta throughout winter to avoid the risk of rotting from too much rain outdoors. As a general rule of thumb, water your cacti every two to three weeks throughout winter in small amounts. 

4. Fruit Salad Plant - Monstera deliciosa

Watch these bad boys thrive through winter by giving them a spot a couple of feet away from a bright window where they will receive indirect sun for most of the day. When Monstera deliciosa are in the perfect spot, they will keep growing even throughout the warmer months. These are tough and hardy plants that can tolerate dry periods, so you can water when the soil has dried down in winter, you might find this is every other week. 

5. False Shamrocks - Oxalis species

Choose winter-growing, cold tender Oxalis throughout the cooler months. These plants grow from bulbs and will start their active growing season at the start of autumn, poking their leaves above the surface and thriving with the cold temperatures and winter sun. Choose species like palmifrons, glabra and polyphylla to grow in a full sun position or windowsill that receives direct sunlight, watering these in small amounts weekly when they are completely dry.  

6. Fishbone Cactus - Epiphyllum anguliger

Beautiful Epiphyllum grace us with their blooms between late autumn and early winter, so if you haven’t already got one of these in your collection - you’re going to want to add one! Like any other jungle cactus, these require little water and attention throughout winter, all they want is a sunny position. Grow them in a hanging basket in a bright, east facing window and watch them spread.