While we do get to enjoy fairly mild winters here in Powell River compared to other parts of Canada, we still have to face the very short days of winter. In addition to short daylight hours, winter days tend to be overcast here on the coast of BC. If you’ve had some trouble with houseplants not surviving the winter before, here are a few of the best indoor houseplants that can withstand Powell River winters, along with some tips for keeping them as happy as possible.
Plants for Low Light Rooms
Snake Plant, or Mother-In-Law’s tongue, is a resilient low light plant that should easily survive the winter. There are several different varieties of snake plants available in variegated shades of green. Snake plant is a succulent, so it is better to under-water than to overwater them. Snake plants should be fine in a bathroom or laundry room with very little natural light.
Chinese Evergreen is also a medium- to low-light-tolerant plant. Similar to Snake Plant, it is better to underwater than to overwater them. Chinese Evergreens feature striking variegated leaves in shades of dark green and white.
Plants for Drafty Rooms
Clivia is a resilient houseplant with beautiful blooms and dark green leaves. It’s pretty tolerant of most situations, so it should be able to survive the winter in a drafty room just fine.
Jade plant is another tough houseplant that can survive a drafty room as long as it has enough bright light. While the draft shouldn’t bother it terribly, you might want to help it along with a grow light during the shortest days of the year.
Terrariums are also a great option for a drafty room since the plants are contained inside their own little micro-climate. There are tons of different kinds of indoor plants you can use in terrariums, but the most common are small succulents, cacti, and air plants.
Plants for Dry Rooms
Succulents, like echeveria, will do well in a particularly dry room as long as they get enough light. With insufficient sunlight, succulents are prone to growing “leggy”, and may need the help of a grow light. Similar to many of the other plants, succulents won’t tolerate overwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry in between waterings.
Fiddle Leaf Figs will also do well in a very dry room, however, they need plenty of light, so they should be close to a south-facing window. Make sure that south-facing window is also well-sealed—fiddles aren’t big fans of cold drafts!
Plants for Hot Rooms
Cacti are perfect for hot rooms since they can tolerate extremely dry and hot conditions for a long period of time. They still need plenty of bright light and will benefit from a slight drop in temperature overnight.
Aloe Vera will also do well in a warm room, as long as it gets plenty of bright light and the soil is allowed to dry between waterings.
Overall Tips for Helping Your Houseplants Survive Winter
Winter can be a tough time for houseplants, so here are a few tips to help keep them alive and happy through the winter.
- Most houseplants go through a period of dormancy, or slower growth, in the winter. Your watering schedule will need to change from the spritely days of spring and summer. Check the soil in your plant pots weekly; if the soil is dry to a depth of about one inch, water the plant. Go easy on the watering, and make sure any water left in trays or saucers is emptied after an hour.
- Plants need light. Even low-light plants need some light exposure to survive. First, move your plants closer to south-facing windows. Since our days are so much shorter this far north, you may need to supplement with grow lights through the darkest months. Many tropical plants need 12-14 hours of light per day.
- Turn your plants every week or two. They’ll be reaching for the light, so gradually rotating their pots will keep them growing straight and allow all the foliage to get adequate light so it doesn’t start to yellow and wilt.
- Keep a close eye out for pests. When we turn our furnaces on for the winter, our plants may experience some stress with the dry air and become more susceptible to infestations.
- Give your houseplants a shower. Turning the furnace on can also stir up dust, which may settle on the leaves of our plants. They’ll be better able to photosynthesize if their leaves are nice and clean. You can pop them in the shower and give them a gentle rinse off, or you can wipe leaves individually with a damp cloth to remove dust.
With a little attention and a little more light, you should be able to keep your favourite plants alive through the winter. If you’re looking for a few tough plants to liven up your home through the coldest months of the year, stop by our garden center—we’re open all winter long!