Best Indoor Winter Plants & How to Care For Them
Even if the weather outside may be getting a bit frightful, lush indoor greenery can help keep the fresh feeling of summer alive. But as you're browsing botanicals to prep for hibernation season, you'll inevitably start to wonder: Which are the best indoor plants for cold weather? And when is the ideal time to start bringing plants inside for winter?
There are 2 keys to designing your indoor oasis: finding a quality online plant store and selecting plants that flourish in both low-light conditions and cooler temperatures.
Whether you're looking for a pop of color or an impressive focal point in your home, we've put together 7 of the best indoor winter plants, along with tips on how to care for them.
The 7 Best Indoor Plants for Winter
When you think of winter plants, you may picture a Christmas cactus or poinsettia. These are among the best cold-weather indoor plants because they bloom when temperatures drop—but they're not the only plants that can bring a splash of life to festive displays!
Find 7 of our favorite plant gems below so you can create a gorgeous display of greenery during those short days and cool nights.
#1 ZZ Plant
The ZZ plant is an indoor favorite because it grows well, even in low light.1 This vertical-growing specimen gets its odd name simply from an abbreviation of its tongue-twister of a scientific name: Zamioculcas zamiifolia (yep, we'll stick with the ZZ plant, thanks!)
- Light – ZZ plants prefer medium to bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light. Looking for a workplace potted plant that can handle all-fluorescent office lighting? The ZZ plant won't mind!
Food & Water – ZZ plants are perfect for the forgetful gardener. They only want to be watered about once a month in winter during their dormant period and twice a month in summer. When it comes to feeding, you'll want to use a plant food specifically formulated for houseplants to feed monthly during the summer. In fall and winter when growth slows, reduce the feeding frequency by half.
#2 Red Chinese Evergreen Plant
You'll appreciate having this easy-care indoor plant around in wintertime for its red and pink-accented leaves that add a brilliant pop of color to any setting. The red Chinese evergreen plant isn't demanding about water or bright light.
- Light – All varieties of Chinese evergreen prefer indirect light and tolerate low light levels. Their leaves will burn in direct light, so don't put them directly in front of a window.2
- Food & Water – Let your Chinese evergreen soil get a bit dry between waterings, but offer extra humidity with regular misting. Chinese evergreen doesn't go dormant but still wants less frequent watering in winter—water only when the top inch of soil feels dry. Feed monthly in the growing season during summer and when growth slows in the winter, reduce feeding by half.
1 North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
2 North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Aglaonema commutatum.
#3 Fiddle Leaf Fig
A member of the ficus family, fiddle leaf figs are much less fussy than their cousin, the common ficus tree. Fiddle-leaf figs are easily recognized by their large, thick, violin-shaped leaves. Fast growers, they can reach heights of up to 3 9 ft tall - making them a wonderful focal point for a room!
- Light – Fiddle leaf figs are happiest with plenty of sunlight, but don't place them directly in front of a window where the large leaves can burn. Rotate regularly, so all the leaves have access to light.
Food & Water – Be cautious not to overwater in winter, making sure to let the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil dry out before the next watering. Mist your plant leaves regularly, especially in cold months when artificial heating can make indoor air very dry. This can also help the large, flat surfaces of the plant leaves from collecting dust.
#4 Bird's Nest Fern
If you're looking for an indoor winter plant that is stylish, consider the Bird's Nest Fern. It gets its name from its distinctive fronds, which form nest-like clusters in the crown of the plant as they dry out and curl up. These indoor plants can grow 1.5 to 2 feet long, and have a leathery texture with a glossy sheen.
- Light – Bird's Nest Ferns do best with moderate lighting. Look for a room with a north-facing window to provide bright but indirect light all day. Watch out for leaves to turn yellow or stop growing entirely, as this could be a sign it's getting too much sun.4
- Food & Water – Like many ferns, the bird's nest fern requires plenty of humidity. Place it near a humidifier, mist regularly, or place the container on a pebble tray filled with water. Plant in an indoor potting mix, if possible, or any porous soil that holds moisture. During summer growing season, fertilize monthly, but skip it during the winter.
#5 Green Peperomia Plant
The green peperomia, also known as the baby rubber plant, is a type of tropical plant that is native to Central and South America. It is an evergreen perennial that can grow 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. The sturdy leaves are what give this plant 5 its unique look—oval-shaped, deep emerald green, with a rich, glossy sheen.
- Light – The green peperomia does best in medium to bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light conditions. Avoid direct sun, as this can burn the leaves.
- Food & Water – As with most of our winter favorites, only water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Fertilize every 2 weeks during the growing season, but no need to feed during the winter months.
3 New York Botanical Garden. Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata). https://libguides.nybg.org/fiddleleaffig
4 North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Asplenium nidus.
#6 Lemon Lime Dracaena
If you're looking for a moderate-maintenance houseplant with height to spare, the lemon-lime dracaena is your new plant best friend. Also known as the corn plant, these don't require much attention to grow into palm tree-like specimens that can reach up to 6 feet tall.6
- Light – Dry or pale areas on the leaves mean your plant is getting too much direct sun. Watch out for giving your dracaena too much light. Aim for bright, indirect light (such as through a sheer curtain) for 2 or 3 hours a day.
- Food & Water – Water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch and fertilize it every 2 weeks during the growing season.
5 The Spruce. Peperomia plant. https://www.thespruce.com/peperomia-plant-4584414
6 New York Botanical Garden. Dracaena. https://libguides.nybg.org/dracaena
#7 Marble Queen Pothos Plant
All pothos varieties are beloved as indoor plants for their unfussy, resilient nature and ability to grow even under less-than-ideal conditions. Even if you neglect your pothos a bit, they'll bounce back quickly with a little TLC. Marble queen pothos is known for its glossy, variegated leaves in shades of deep green, lime green, and white.
- Light – Marble queen pothos needs bright, indirect light to keep its variegated patterns. But it will also do well even in low light—you'll just notice more solid green leaves over time. Move it back into bright light, and the new growth should regain its colorful markings.
- Food & Water – In winter, pothos plants don't need too much water. Let the top 1 or 2 inches of soil dry between waterings. If you notice leaf tips turning brown, give your pothos a humidity boost with a humidifier, pebble tray, or spray bottle misting.7
Note: Pothos is very easy to propagate, so you can quickly fill a space with several containers or share it with friends. Just cut off a vine that has a few leaves and a growth node (an area on a stem where buds are located) at the base. Pop it into clean water and watch the roots emerge! When it has an inch or 2 of root growth, it's ready to pot.
Growing Tips for Indoor Winter Plants
For all of your indoor plants, there are a few general tips to keep them feeling cared for in the colder months.
- Water only when needed – Even indoors, plants tend to slow or stop growing when days grow shorter, meaning they won't need a drink quite so often. Plants tend to suffer more from overwatering than underwatering, so, as a rule of thumb, only water when the top inch or so of soil is dry to the touch or use a Sustee Stick to take the guesswork out of watering.
- Adjust your feeding schedule – Keep in mind that winter plant maintenance requires watering less often and cutting back on fertilizing your indoor plants <link to new article in this batch>. Once a month (if at all) will suffice for most plants. If you fertilize when your plant isn't doing much growing, the fertilizer will go unused and can build up in the soil. This can lead to fertilizer burn, which damages your plants.
Bright, indirect light is usually best – When it comes to light requirements, most indoor plants will do just fine with bright, indirect light. However, some species can tolerate lower light conditions during the winter months, like the lemon lime dracaena and ZZ plant.
Grow Your Best Greenery with Greendigs
While your indoor plants may grow a little more slowly during the winter months, you can still keep your living space green. With a careful watering routine, the right lighting conditions, and plenty of vibrant plants to choose from, you'll have a touch of summer in your home all year long.
Greendigs plant experts are passionate about helping you grow what you love, offering the advice, broad plant selection, and supplies you need to be successful with your growing adventure. To launch your winter garden on a bountiful foot, shop plant food, gardening supplies, and houseplants for sale online with Greendigs today.
New York Botanical Garden. Dracaena. https://libguides.nybg.org/dracaena
New York Botanical Garden. Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata).
New York Botanical Garden. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum).
North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Aglaonema commutatum.
North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. Zamioculcas zamiifolia.
The Spruce. Peperomia plant. https://www.thespruce.com/peperomia-plant-4584414