Winter is a tough time for many us. The lack of sunlight during the day, the cold weather, and the lack of greenery outdoors can take a mental toll.
Having houseplants can help to decrease the amount of seasonal blues we experience.
Winter is also tough on many of our plants who do not enjoy the lack of light and humidity.
However, there are also houseplants which grow and sometimes even thrive in the winter season!
These plants go dormant during the hottest months of the year and wake up in cooler weather to delight you with growth when you least expect it!
Today we will feature 5 plants that grow throughout the winter season AND are cheap and easy to care for!
Table of Contents
- #1 Aloe
- #2 Peperomia
- #3 Gasteria
- #4 Haworthia
- #5 Senecio macroglossus
- Related Posts
- Aloe is a large group of succulent plants, most known for the medicinal variety, Aloe vera (pictured above).
- The name Aloe comes from the Arabic word, “Alloeh.” The word in Arabic means a shiny, bitter substance, describing the characteristic sap
- There are many species and cultivars of Aloe in a huge range of colors and textures.
- Aloe is tolerant of varying light levels and some neglect
- Most are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase
- Aloe is in the same family as Haworthia and Gasteria, which are on this list as well
- Aloe grows in winter!
How to Care for Aloe
Aloes do well in a wide variety of conditions. They can grow happily in an East-facing window where they are receiving direct sunlight in the morning and can also thrive in West or South-facing windows with stronger, hotter sun.
They are not low light tolerant.
Aloes prefer to dry out completely and can stay dry for a couple of days before being watered again. They retain a lot of water in their succulent leaves and can become water-logged if they aren’t able to dry out properly.
These plants prefer a well-draining mix that doesn’t retain water for long periods of time. Pre-made cactus mixes would work well, as would other houseplant soils with perlite or pumice added to increase drainage.
Aloe can be housed successfully in any type of pot as long as it has a drainage hole and properly aerated soil.
The easiest and lowest cost option for Aloe is a terracotta pot whose porous texture provides additional breathing capacity for the plant’s roots and the ability to wick excess moisture from the soil.
Pet and kid safe? No, aloe is not safe for kids or pets if ingested
- Peperomia earned it name because it is in the same family as the plants we use to produce pepper. Peperomia means “similar to pepper”
- There are thousands of species and cultivars of Peperomia
- Peperomias can be found as:
- hanging, trailing plants (like Peperomia ‘Ruby Cascade’)
- upright, shrub-like plants (like Peperomia obtusifolia, or baby rubber plant)
- vining, climbing plants (like Peperomia scandens, which is similar in appearance to Philodendron cordatum or the heartleaf philodendron)
- Available in a HUGE range of foliage textures, colors, and sizes
- Most Peperomias are inexpensive and easy to source
- Many have somewhat succulent leaves, allowing them to tolerate a good deal of neglect
- Peperomias can adapt to a wide-range of conditions and do well
How to Care for Peperomia
Peperomias prefer bright indirect light. They can do well in an east-facing window where they receive direct sun in the morning. Peperomias are also happy near west and south-facing windows, but may need to be pulled back a little bit to prevent burning.
Need more information about bright indirect light? Click here to read my post explaining exactly what bright indirect light is.
Peperomia like to dry out before being watered again. They have somewhat succulent leaves that can retain moisture for the plant, which is helpful in times of neglect. However, their ability to retain some moisture can cause them to be particularly prone to root rot if watered too frequently.
Thinner leaf varieties will not mind more frequent watering, but should still be allowed to dry out or nearly dry out before adding additional moisture.
Peperomias like well-draining soils to prevent moisture from sitting around their roots for extended periods of time. Adding a lot of perlite, pumice, or orchid bark will help to increase drainage for the plant.
Any pot with a drainage hole can be a good fit for a peperomia. A drainage hole will help to prevent excess water from being trapped in the pot.
Pet and kid safe? Yes, peperomia is non-toxic to kids and pets
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- Compact succulents with a huge range of growth and color patterns
- Its name, Gasteria, originates from the Latin word “gaster,” which means stomach
- Why stomach? Gasteria’s flowers are stomach-shaped!
- Can thrive in a home environment
- Most varieties are readily available and inexpensive
- Can tolerate neglect well
- Gasteria is in the same family as Aloe and Haworthia, which are also on this list
How to Care for Gasteria
Light: Gasteria can grow happily in direct and indirect light. Variegated plants will appreciate higher levels of direct sunlight since they have less surface area capable of photosynthesizing (or less areas of green).
Water: Allow Gasteria to dry out completely before watering. During times of lower light, Gasteria can be left dry for a few days.
Soil: Gasteria prefers a well-draining potting mix that doesn’t hold water for extended periods of time. I have success using a cactus mix with some added perlite or pumice or a houseplant mix with a lot of perlite or pumice to increase the drainage.
Pot: Any pot with drainage will work fine. Drainage allows excess water to be removed from the soil, helping to prevent rot.
Pet and kid safe? Yes, Gasteria is non-toxic to kids and pets
- Small succulents, many of which look like miniature Aloes
- Haworthia was named after a botanist, Adrian Hardy Haworth
- Can also resemble rosette-like succulents and other more unique shapes
- Haworthia is in the same family as Gasteria and Aloe, which are on this list as well
- There are many designer varieties of Haworthia in unreal colors (check out the orange and yellow Haworthia below)
- These plants are known for having translucent leaves on many varieties that look like stained glass windows
- Tolerant of neglect
How to Care for Haworthia
Haworthia’s care is identical to Aloe and Gasteria, so if you are having luck with one you will do great with the other.
Light: Haworthia can thrive in both direct sunlight and bright indirect light. Variegated plants prefer more direct sunlight since they have less green (and therefore less chlorophyll to produce energy for the plant).
Water: Allow Haworthias to dry completely between waterings.
Soil: This is another plant that prefers a well-draining mix like cactus soil with perlite added or a houseplant mix with lots of perlite or pumice added to increase drainage.
Pot: Any pot with adequate drainage will work well for Haworthia. The goal is just to ensure Haworthias do not sit in excess water.
Pet and kid safe? Yes, Haworthia is non-toxic to kids and pets
#5 Senecio macroglossus
About Senecio macroglossus
- Commonly referred to as Wax Ivy because it’s foliage looks very similar to English ivy (Hedera helix), but Senecio macroglossus is actually a succulent that is native to Africa
- This plant is often preferred over common ivy
- Wax Ivy is fairly pest-resistant
- English ivy is a magnet for spider mites, which is why many houseplant lovers (including myself) won’t bring it home!
- The most common variety of Wax Ivy has variegation on the edges of the leaves
- This is unusual as often the most common variety of plants is a fully green version
- The green wax ivy and the wax ivy with variegation in the middle of the leaves (medio-picta) is much less common (in my area at least)
Here’s what English Ivy looks like, for comparison:
How to Care for Wax Ivy
Light: Senecio macroglossus can do well in bright indirect light to direct sunlight. It will not do well in low light.
Water: Wax Ivy prefers to dry out between watering. It is drought-tolerant, like the other true succulents on this list.
Soil: A well-draining mix will be perfect for this plant. Adding lots of pumice or perlite to a houseplant mix or a cactus mix will work well.
Pot: Any pot that has a drainage hole to remove excess water is a good fit. Terracotta could be used to maximize drainage; the porous clay wicks moisture from the soil.
Pet and kid safe? No, wax ivy is toxic to kids and pets if ingested
While all 5 of these plants are labelled as summer dormant/winter growers, there are many other plants in my home that continue to grow throughout the winter season.
Some of them, like Jade and Snake Plants, are also winter growers.
Other plants just keep growing and I’m not sure why!
One example is my Tradescantia ‘Nanouk’ that has been growing all winter long despite the very low light levels. It’s growth is a bit more stretched than it was during summer, but not much. This baby just doesn’t stop growing.
My Phalaenopsis orchids have been growing as well. Some of them are growing leaves and many are growing buds and blooming.
My cane begonias, like Begonia maculata ‘Wightii,’ have been growing all winter long as well.
So you may be surprised at how much growth happens even in the darkest of times, but it is still a lot of fun to have plants you know thrive in winter. I hope you get to try one of the plants discussed in this article if you are interested!
Have a great week! Leave me any questions or comments below to be answered in a future blog post or in the comments on this one. Happy growing!