Green foliage is lovely all year long, but the cold months of winter can really be perked up with a few colorful flowers among your houseplants. Even when kept inside, the lower daylight levels can trigger dormant periods in a lot of plants. That usually means no flowers to enjoy.
But there are some species that just like to bloom all the time, or at least can be tricked into it when necessary.
So, what flower can you grow indoors in the winter? For some winter color, try adding a few of these houseplants to your collection.
1 – Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)
As the name might suggest, this is a plant known to bloom in the middle of winter if the conditions are right. And being a cactus, its not a plant that requires a lot of specialized care.
It doesn’t need overly bright light or high heat, and really will thrive in any spot a typical houseplant does well even though it is a cactus. Keep it watered when the soil gets dry to the touch.
Once the current blooming cycle has finished up, let it get dormant for a few weeks with cooler temperatures and less water. Then expose it to more sun again and more watering to trigger more flowers, even in the winter.
When they are flowering, they can produce several bright blooms at the ends of their segmented leaves. Traditional varieties are deep pink, but there are some with yellow, purple or white flowers too.
2 – African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
This is a low-key plant that works well in most parts of the house when you don’t want a big plant taking over too much space. They do come in a variety of colors and foliage textures, but the classic African violet has a cluster of purple flowers in the center of very distinctive fuzzy leaves.
Indirect light is best and they don’t do well in cool or drafty areas. Keep them regularly watered without letting the soil fully dry out. They should bloom almost constantly, all year long.
Their leaves can get discolored if you leave water on them, so water carefully directly onto the soil. Most violets will stay small and probably won’t get more than a foot or so high or wide. That means if they are in an appropriate container, you won’t have a lot of repotting chores in your future.
If you really like them, you can easily propagate new plants by gently snipping off a healthy leaf and setting it up in its own pot with moist soil.
3 – Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
The Peace lily gets a lot of attention as a fantastic houseplant for so many reasons, from the ease of care to its ability to filter contaminants out of your air. Add in a lovely white bloom that can brighten up the winter for you.
It’s not as showy as some of these other plants, with just one flower at a time. That does mean it might be a bit of a gamble to get yours to bloom in the winter.
A spot with indirect light is just right, and you can water once the soil is dry to the touch, or you notice the leaves starting to give a little wilt. Adding some fertilizer in the fall will help your chances of getting a flower in the winter.
These plants can get bushy with a tall stalk for the flower. You’ll need some space once it gets established.
4 – Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa)
A sunny window that doesn’t get too hot is the right spot for a Gloxinia, and you should water just as the soil is starting to get dry to the touch.
Like their cousins, the African violet, their leaves will get brown spots if you let water settle on them. So get your watering can under the leaves and only soak the soil.
Because they do produce so many flowers, some Gloxinias live as annuals and will only last the one year. With a little special care, you may be able to keep yours going for more than one season though. A weekly fertilizer treatment can go a long way.
For sure-fire winter flowers, just purchase your Gloxinia in the fall and enjoy the ongoing blossom display for the 2 to 3 months it is active.
5 – Begonia (Begonia sp.)
There are a wide range of begonia species and varieties, with some known for their lush flowers and some grown more for their colorful foliage instead.
Some types are better for houseplants than others, even though they are all in the same family. You should avoid those in the “tuberous” group. They have a thick root system that doesn’t do very well in containers. Other than that, you can take your pick between a rainbow of color options and leaf textures for the perfect winter begonia.
Give them a spot with bright light that doesn’t get too hot, and have a little extra humidity if possible. A tray of water with pebbles nearby can be enough to add a bit of moisture to the air around your plants.
Just because they like moist air doesn’t mean they want wet roots though. Go ahead and let the soil dry out between waterings. Mildew can be a problem on the leaves so don’t drench the whole plant when you water.
These are all great choices to bring some color to your home during the winter, but you can encourage a lot of other plants to keep putting out flowers year-round too.
The best way is to add extra light. The shorter days of winter trigger changes in your plants, and even though the temperatures are steady, it prompts the plant to slow down and go more dormant.
Add some artificial light to keep the days longer (maybe with a timer?) and you’ll have more flowers in the winter, no matter what you are growing.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.