Quantcast
Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

Plants That Stay Happy in the Winter

January 6, 2008

It’s that time of the year when the longing comes over you. Winter has settled in. Now that it’s truly gray and drab outdoors, you pine for living color.

A houseplant, maybe two, will feed your need.

You don’t have to be a horticulturist. It’s easy enough to turn your thumb – and home – green. It just requires a little know-how, the right kind of plant and proper care. These steps will help stop even the most clueless gardener from becoming a plant killer.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Instead of perusing a plant shelf and picking the first leafy item that catches the eye, plant experts recommend first identifying where the plant will live.

“Once you identify a location, you can figure out how much sunlight the plant will need,” said Mike Gettler, merchandising vice president of nursery and outdoor fashion for Lowe’s. It’s also important to pick plants that will thrive in your environment, be that a dry desert climate or a low-lit apartment, said Marie Iannotti, from the About.com Guide to Gardening.

IN-STORE CHECKUP

Researching plant varieties beforehand is advisable, but reading the plants’ label in the store is another option. Once at the store, pick a plant that already looks healthy.

“You don’t want to buy a plant that is sick or has dropping leaves before you get it out of the store,” said Kate Hogan author of “37 Houseplants Even You Can’t Kill.”

WATCH THE WATER

After taking the plant home, the next step is to examine its pot. A pot with little drainage can be a death sentence – especially combined with over-watering.

“You’d essentially be suffocating the plant,” said Darin A. Pines, director and chief operations officer for U.S. Farms, Inc. “Just make sure the pot has drain holes in it.”

Another way to avoid over-watering is to test the plant’s tolerance, said Mike DuVall, senior live good merchant at Lowe’s. Measure out the water used to water the plant and then measure the runoff that leaves the plant. “Everyone wants to over-water and that is the death note for most house plants,” DuVall said.

SET THE STAGE

Finally, Hogan recommends keeping plant care easy by grouping plants together on a tray for convenient access.

“People want some pretty greenery in their home, but most people don’t want to spent a lot of time taking care of them,” Hogan said. “The more you have things well set up the more likely you are to take care of the plants.”

That said, just what plants are just right for the indoor life? Even if your thumb is not so green, try the low-maintenance house plants above, recommended by Mike Gettler of Lowe’s and Darin A. Pines of U.S. Farms, Inc.

In most cases, no full sun is needed.

ALOE VERA

(Aloe Barbadensis)

A drought-tolerant plant with a short stem and thick, fleshy leaves. It is vulnerable to over-watering and freezing temperatures.

CAST-IRON PLANT

(Aspidistra Elatior)

As its name may suggest, this plant is hardy and tolerant of neglect.

CENTURY PLANT

(Agave Americana)

This plant with a spreading rosette of gray-green leaves deals well with extreme temperatures and with little or no water.

CORN PLANT

(Massangeana Cane)

Does well with low light and will last for years in the home, eventually growing large and canopy-like. It can tolerate high or full sun and requires watering every seven to 10 days.

CYCADS

(Encephalartos Ferox)

A slow-growing and drought-tolerant plant native to Africa.

EMERALD BEAUTY and MARIA CHRISTINA CHINESE EVERGREEN

(Aglaonema Commutatum, Aglaonema Maria Christina)

Both of these flowering plants thrive in low light settings and grow well during winter months.

GOLDEN POTHOS

(Epipremnum Aureum)

This plant with colorful vegetation requires low sunlight.

GREEN TI PLANT

(Cordyline Glauca)

Holds up in low light and will grow upright and become tall over time.

JANET CRAIG

(Dracaena Deremensis)

Grows well in low light conditions and will also help clean the air of the home it’s in.

JADE PLANT

(Crassula Argentea)

A drought-tolerant plant with thick branches and smooth, fleshy leaves that is susceptible to over-watering and freezing temperatures.

LUCKY BAMBOO

(Dracaena Sanderiana)

Native to tropical west Africa, this plant does not need to be planted in soil and does well in low light.

RIKKI PLANT

(Dracaena ‘Rikki’)

A plant with yellow-green foliage that tolerates medium light levels while growing colorful leaves.

SAGO PALM

(Cycas Revolute)

Native to southern Japan, this plant does very well in high heat and cold temperatures.

SNAKE PLANT

(Sansevieria)

Does well and low light, can be watered every seven to 10 days. It also grows upright and can fit well in a corner.

SONG OF INDIA

(Dracaena Reflexa)

Requires moderate watering and prefers medium to low light. Another variety is the Pleomele Reflexa Anita, which can tolerate medium light.

WIDOW HAWORTHIA

(Haworthia Cooperi)

This plant with fleshy pointed foliage deals well with extreme temperatures and little to no water.

“ZZ Plant”

(Zamioculcas)

With smooth, shiny, dark green leaves, this plant tolerates low light conditions, grows slowly and does not need to be watered or repotted often.

more plants to check out

CYCADS (Encephalartos Ferox)

A slow-growing and drought-tolerant plant native to Africa.

GREEN TI PLANT (Cordyline Glauca)

Holds up in low light and will grow upright and become tall over time.

JANET CRAIG (Dracaena Deremensis)

Grows well in low-light conditions and will also help clean the air of the home it’s in.

RIKKI PLANT (Dracaena ‘Rikki’)

A plant with yellow-green foliage that tolerates medium light levels while growing colorful leaves.

SAGO PALM (Cycas Revolute)

Native to southern Japan, this plant does very well in high heat and cold temperatures.

WIDOW HAWORTHIA (Haworthia Cooperi)

This plant with fleshy pointed foliage deals well with extreme temperatures and little to no water. GOLDEN POTHOS (Epipremnum Aureum)

This plant with colorful vegetation requires low sunlight. LUCKY BAMBOO (Dracaena Sanderiana)

Native to tropical west Africa, this plant does not need to be planted in soil and does well in low light. CORN PLANT (Massangeana Cane)

Does well with low light and will last for years in the home, eventually growing large and canopy-like. It can tolerate high or full sun and requires watering every seven to 10 days. JADE PLANT (Crassula Argentea)

A drought-tolerant plant with thick branches and smooth, fleshy leaves that is susceptible to over-watering and freezing temperatures. CAST-IRON PLANT (Aspidistra Elatior)

As its name may suggest, this plant is hardy and tolerant of neglect. SNAKE PLANT (Sansevieria)

Does well with low light, can be watered every seven to 10 days. It also grows upright and can fit well in a corner. EMERALD BEAUTY and MARIA CHRISTINA CHINESE EVERGREEN, above (Aglaonema Commutatum, Aglaonema Maria Christina) Both of these flowering plants thrive in low- light settings and grow well during winter months. ALOE VERA (Aloe Barbadensis)

A drought-tolerant plant with a short stem and thick, fleshy leaves. It is vulnerable to over-watering and freezing temperatures. SONG OF INDIA (Dracaena Reflexa)

Requires moderate watering and prefers medium to low light. Another variety is the Pleomele Reflexa Anita, which can tolerate medium light. “ZZ Plant” (Zamioculcas)

With smooth, shiny, dark green leaves, this plant tolerates low- light conditions, grows slowly and does not need to be watered or repotted often. CENTURY PLANT (Agave Americana)

This plant with a spreading rosette of gray-green leaves deals well with extreme temperatures and with little or no water.