It’s the time of year when we’re all shivering and huddling close to the fire. As well as adding layers of warm cushions and throws to our living spaces, housing an array of houseplants can create an air of cosiness.
Whether you prefer sculptural, spiky foliage or a dash of colour, we’ve compiled a list of flowering plants to provide interest over the winter. Some provide fruit and some may even improve your health!
This time of year we often think of festive poinsettia, it’s a beautiful plant but there are many others to consider too. Here are 15 indoor winter flowering plants that will enjoy snuggling up with you.
Plants for a sunny window
If your living room needs a pick-me-up, then kalanchoe will provide colourful winter blooms on any sunny windowsill. This perennial succulent offers a taste of the sunshine from its native Madagascar.
Kalanchoe plants require excellent drainage and don’t like moist roots so water only when the soil feels dry. Its attractive flowers come in pink and orange and its waxy leaves adore the direct sun. Enjoy!
Begonias come in a range of colours with varied leaf patterns. Rex begonia has patterned pointed leaves whilst other varieties display showy, red undersides, providing colourful additions to a sunny windowsill. Flower colours range from orange to red and pink.
The rare Julau begonia flowers on a delicate stem in pink shades. This plant is sometimes known as the butterfly begonia or the angel wing begonia because the leaf foliage forms ‘wings’ on the stem. Whichever begonia you choose, it will not disappoint.
3. Christmas cactus
This cactus is a must in every household for the festive season and is often featured in table decorations. It enjoys the sun so much it provides vivid pink blooms at the end of each trailing stem, just in time for Christmas. The flowers are really striking and contrast sharply with the green of the foliage.
Remember the plant goes dormant in the summer, so do not water too much. Increase the water during the autumn to encourage it to flower. When it finishes flowering, you can move it back to the window to go dormant for the next few months. This is also the time to remove any straggling leaf segments and replant them.
Bromelia adds a dash of orange to a windowsill, even in winter. These perennial plants will flower all year round and you can place them anywhere that’s warm with some sunshine.
The flower’s colour reminds me of wood fires, bringing warmth into your living room. Definitely one to put on your Christmas gift list.
Plants for a shadier corner
5. Spider plant
Spider plants are famous for having long hanging leaves with small spiderettes which hang off the end of a stem looking for soil to root and make a new plant. However, the beauty of this plant’s flower is rarely seen.
It extends a long stem and from that several white buds form. Slowly, each day you will notice the flower open and then as daylight fades, the flower closes.
6. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
This is one of the plants investigated by NASA as an air purifier so it is an excellent choice in a room which you think needs some fresh air. Its spiky leaves are usually tinged with a lemon colour and it thrives in most locations. It is often sold to the inexperienced gardener with the promise that it is impossible to kill!
However, it has another name mother-in-law’s tongue, reminding you to avoid getting too close to the sharpness of the leaves. It provides a sculptural element to any shady corner and you can always give it a holiday outside in warmer summer conditions. Water it infrequently; check if the soil is dry before you give it water. Its flower is as rare as the spider plant and when it comes, it is a delicate cluster of white spiky blooms.
7. String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
This succulent prefers indirect sunlight but loves bright light so is best located on a south-facing windowsill. The plant’s circular, ball-shaped leaves trail down decoratively. The flowers reputedly smell of cinnamon and will fill your room with their heady scent.
Plants you can eat
Pomegranate is an unusual indoor fruit plant providing you with orange flowers from June to August. The fruits are tangy and can be added to juice or salads. This attractive tree adores the sun so give it a sunny windowsill and about an inch of water every week. If it is really warm, check the soil and give it a little extra water if needed.
Any tomato variety needs about 8 hours of direct sunshine in summer but if you have any left in a greenhouse at the end of the season, they can be moved onto a sunny windowsill indoors to keep growing in winter.
The yellow flowers are cheerful in winter and if you give them fertile soil, a large pot with room to grow and water it daily, you may be lucky enough to get some winter tomatoes.
10. Dwarf lemon
Bring a touch of the Mediterranean into your home with a lemon tree. Citrus trees adore bright sunshine and their gorgeous flowers will fill your room with delightful scents. If you have never walked into a room with a citrus tree in bloom, you are missing an experience.
A south-facing window gives the lemon tree enough sunshine to produce lemons too. Feed them every 2 months when fruiting and water them weekly.
11. Cape gooseberry
This plant offers soft leaves that feel like velvet, and it produces adorable, understated flowers in winter, which transform into fruit to eat. This plant will grow quite bushy in a sunny position so give it a medium-sized pot, hours of direct sunshine and it will reward you with abundance in the cold northern winter.
It is native to South Africa and can be moved back outside in the summer.
Plants for pure pleasure and colour
12. Aloe arborescens
A cousin of the Aloe vera, this plant is also known as the candelabra aloe. It takes its name from the pointed, orange spiky flower heads which will make an unusual addition to any living room.
The blooms are quite short-lived but hugely enjoyable. Aloes grow offsets which you can transplant into new pots if any of your friends fancy trying one at home. Do not water this plant frequently or you will cause root rot. Check if the soil is dry and if so, just water well and drain off any excess.
If you like fancy foliage, this is your plant! It really enjoys being warm so place it in a snug location with no breeze where you can enjoy the colourful flowers and patterned leaves. Water this one more frequently and place it in full sunshine.
Also known as the flowering maple, this plant requires a minimum temperature of 65°F (18° C) but if it’s cosy in your winter living room, that suits abutilon just fine. If you don’t get the watering right, the plant will drop flowers to show its displeasure so keep the soil moist but never allow it to feel waterlogged.
Its gorgeous orange blooms seem very exotic in a British living room and you will need to trim it regularly so that it retains its shape. Prune in early spring or late autumn.
Yucca grows best in hot, sunny conditions like its native Mexico and is often grown outside but if grown indoors, you may get it to flower. It adores sunshine and being warm so give it pride of place near a sunny window. The yucca flower is a real treat, it grows tall reaching for the sky and the multiple white flowers will add real interest to your home.
Make sure not to overwater your yucca or the leaves may turn brown and the stem will feel slightly spongy. In summer, move it back outdoors. A word of warning; yucca spikes are sharp so if you have wandering infants or pets, give this plant some space in a sunny conservatory. You can move it outdoors in summer.
If you want to add some colour to your garden here’s our list of winter flowering plants.