Plants at the Window

We asked BHG.com site visitors to reveal their favorite wintertime houseplants.
African Violet
Enlarge Image
African violets are a
windowsill favorite.

We asked you to share with us what plants populate your windowsills in winter months. Here's our pick of the crop of responses:

With only two southern-exposure windows, I crowd in as much as I can. Hibiscus and Christmas cactus (which blooms for Thanksgiving and again in January) take up much of the space. I also have African violets, geraniums, and orchids that may or may not rebloom each year. This year I'm trying to save a few lantanas. Here in California they grow like shrubs. I cut them way back and I'm hoping for the best. --Gingerly

Big old gnarly geraniums saved from summers past populate our south window in winter. They get an almost bonsai-like appearance as their stems thicken and the leaves get smaller. We pot up a few every year into plain terra-cotta pots and they are blooming like mad in dark January and drippy February. Always rocket red ones, too. --doc

When I was a little girl, I was allowed to pick one sweet potato from the harvest to bring inside. My mother would stick it in a glass of water and put it in the kitchen window. Soon, vines would surround the window and, once again, we would have a little bit of summer to keep us through the long, cold winter. Of course, I still start a sweet potato vine in the fall! I also have herbs, geraniums, and Johnny jump-ups that flourish, and a lot of asparagus ferns that sulk all winter in a back corner of the sunroom. No more ivy -- I am tired of white flies. --Kathryn

My windowsill plants indoors are African violets. To keep them blooming they have to be right in the window but be careful they don't get too cold in the winter. The most challenging plants to take care of are bonsai. One of the easiest plants (which most people don't believe) is a Phalaenopsis orchid. I have two. --A. McLaughlin

Although my green thumb starts and ends with outdoor landscape plants, I have decided to try some indoor plants again. I have a Swedish ivy and a Hedera helix, cyclamen, and two Christmas cacti, and an assortment of cacti and succulents that are growing in a miniature birdbath that I made from an inverted pot and saucer. I also have a sansevieria that has been with me for several years. I also plan to set up my paperwhites so they will be in bloom for Christmas! --Rhonda

During the winter months here in New Jersey, I keep a purple passion plant on my living room sill. I also have a prayer plant on the coffee table. Kalanchoe does best in the kitchen where it gets eastern exposure. I also have a flowering plant (I wish I knew the name) with woody stems, heart-shaped leaves, and blooms that resemble roses. --Sharon

As the coolness slides over Tennessee, I move my very large pink mandevilla inside to the sunny breakfast window. It continues to bloom through the winter chill. Not to mention the comments I receive from guests! --Puanani

Although here in south Mississippi we can still grow our herbs outside, I am starting to transplant some of my chives, dill, mint, parsley, and thyme into small containers for my kitchen window garden. These will be just the right size and hardiness for last-minute Christmas gifts and little "happys" for the dentist's receptionist, etc. I also have several pots of variegated ivy growing in small pots in the same window. These will be used as additions to the table decorations for my daughter's March wedding. It's a little personal touch that we hope the guests can enjoy in their garden to remember Melissa and George's wedding long into the future. --Cecile

African violets are pretty foolproof in my home. They haven't stopped blooming since mid-April, don't require much care, and can tolerate a little neglect. As for challenging, orchids are somewhat of a challenge due to their requirement for higher humidity. I recently purchased an indoor greenhouse and the orchids seem to be doing much better. One is even blooming! --pfox

As cold weather finally comes to my garden here in Zone 6, I am forced to enjoy the bones of my garden through the window. With the sadness of mourning the death of summer outside, it is even more important to me to see the rebirth of something in the warmth inside. That is why I always plant amaryllis (Hippeastrum) in mid-November. They really take off quickly and reward your patience with big, beautiful flower stems around the holidays. They almost make me have that springtime feeling again with the rapid growth and anticipation of the flowers to come. You see, I am a true gardenaholic and winter is my enemy. So when I plant the bulbs under the pine tree in the summer, it means the amaryllis and I have both survived another dull, gray, cold winter. --Judy G.

 


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