Think flower gardens are only for outside in spring? Guess again. Thanks to winter blooming houseplants, you can warm up the cold months with a beautiful blooming indoor garden! It’s all about the plants you choose: If you pick the right houseplant that works in your indoor conditions, you can have blooms all winter into early spring!
Kalanchoe is an easy-to-grow succulent that blooms indoors in a variety of colors.
Photo Credit: James Burghardt
Cyclamens love bright indirect light and cooler indoor temperatures.
Photo Credit: Gerald L. Klingaman
Columnea has numerous varieties that are almost pest free if you don’t overwater.
Photo Credit: Judith K. Mehl
African Violets bloom all year but are a special delight in the gloomy days of winter.
Photo Credit: Judith K. Mehl
Consider kalanchoe. This indoor blooming plant comes in a variety of types, but the most popular is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, a busy succulent with thick waxy leaves with hints of red edges. It blooms from late fall to early spring with clusters of long-lasting florets in yellow, red and orange to apricot hues. These numerous tiny flowers are well-worth the extra attention the plant requires! The plant can sit in full sun from fall through spring, but it needs dark nights for a while to trigger the blooming. Be sure to fertilize during active growth. After blooming, keep the plant on the dry side for two months. This beauty is ideal for homes where the temperature is about 70 degrees F during the day but the thermostat is turned down lower at night. The leaves are fragile but stay healthy if given good air circulation.
The common indoor cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) is another great winter blooming houseplant. Not only is it beautiful, it’s easy to keep and can handle neglect. It does need a little extra humidity, but that’s easily supplied by placing the pot in a saucer full of pebbles and water. (The pebbles keep the plant from sitting directly in the water, while the evaporating water provides enough humidity to keep the plant happy and healthy.) Keep cyclamen in a cool location out of direct sunlight, and fertilize it every two weeks. And here’s an little hint: If new growth is spindly, your plant isn’t getting enough light.
Jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum) is a vigorous indoor climber with large clusters of flowers all winter into spring. These intensely fragrant blooms have long tubes that open into pink-tinged star shapes. Jasmine (often called the Chinese jasmine) grows well in bright light and prefers average to cool room temperatures. Just fertilize at budding time, keep the soil moist and mist around the plant. This houseplant may lose its leaves after flowering, but fear not – they’ll grow again.
The columnea (Columnea x banksii) is a great winter bloomer for an indoor hanging basket. Its dark green leaves with trailing stems can reach 3 feet long, making it an eye-catcher in any area of the house with bright – but not direct – light. The plant’s real “wow” factor, however, is the bright red/orange tubular flowers with upper petals that form a hood. In fact, the blooms look a bit like swimming goldfish (and wouldn’t you know, this beauty is sometimes called the goldfish plant). The plant’s pretty tolerant, as well. It likes a minimum temperature of 60 degrees F, and moist soil. It does better with some humidity, which you can provide with a daily misting or a room humidifier. Use only tepid (not cold) water, and fertilize every two weeks for those great blooms. Stop feeding it by the end of winter.
And of course, we can’t forget to talk about everyone’s favorite – the African violet (Saintpaulia). There are numerous varieties out there, some just a few inches across and others as much as 1½ feet in diameter. No matter the size, these beauties all have soft, fuzzy leaves, some with smooth-edges and others that are crinkly. The flowers grow in small clusters in all colors. These marvelous winter blooming houseplants require even moisture but need water only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Use only tepid water, and don’t get any on the sensitive leaves (or they won’t let you forget it). They grow well in average to warm temperatures and medium light.
All of these beautiful indoor blooming plants hold very little cultivation secrets. With just a little care, some water and some fertilizer, you can brighten those dreary winter days with some indoor blooms…at least until you can get back into your outdoor flower beds come spring.