The cold and lack of light of winter can be fatal for some houseplants — but not all. Certain hardy houseplants, however, will thrive better in the dry, low-light conditions of the season.
“Tough” plants like philodendron, pothos, sansevieria (more commonly known as “snake plant”), ZZ plant, ivy and hoya are some excellent houseplants that can thrive in any season in Maine, according to Ellie Longfellow of Longfellow’s Greenhouses in Manchester.
Lauren Tuell, founder and owner of Mainely Succulents in Orono, also suggested monstera, or swiss cheese vine.
“That one is probably my most popular plant,” Tuell said. “It does well every season, [and] it’s easy to propagate.”
Other plants, however, might not fare as well. Succulents need a lot of sunlight to keep their bright colors and stay compact in growth. Without it, they will stretch and lose their color in a process known as etiolation. Ferns, meanwhile, thrive in humidity, which can be challenging to achieve in indoor environments during the dry winter months in Maine.
If you have your heart set on the succulent aesthetic, John Sundling, owner of the Plant Office in Portland, suggested getting a cactus. Cacti are a subset of succulents, which are fleshy plants that store water in their roots, stems and leaves, but they are more resilient to the cold than some of their other succulent brethren.
“Surprisingly, cactuses don’t mind the cold,” Sundling said. “In the desert they have really cold nights. If you have a sunny spot a cactus is a great plant in Maine, believe it or not.”
With the right indoor conditions, you can even encourage some cacti and other plants to flower through the winter.
“A lot of plants like a cool night and a warm day and kind of cycling between the two,” Sunding said. “Orchids, for example, citrus [and] Christmas cactuses. Those are all encouraged to bloom.”
No matter what plant you have, learning a little bit about the particularities of your houseplants and adjusting your care accordingly is essential to helping even the hardiest plants survive through the winter..
“Getting to know your plant is how you’re going to keep your plant alive,” Tuell said.