Houseplants That Thrive All Winter

By Mary Ellen Ellis | January 2, 2022
by Mary Ellen Ellis
January 2, 2022

Houseplants are important for me as a Midwest gardener. We have true winter here, which means months of a snow-covered, dormant garden. Indoor plants give me something to do and greenery to enjoy. These are some of the plants I find do best in the low-light conditions of winter’s shorter days. 


I have a heartleaf philodendron that has been growing well for decades in my home. While other houseplants have come and gone, this one carries on. It’s a popular houseplant for this reason. It stands up to neglect. 

All types of philodendrons make great winter houseplants. They come from tropical forests and prefer shaded or indirect light. Heartleaf is a common variety, but you can find all kinds of variations on this group of plants. Some are striped, others have holes in the leaves, and some include shades of pink. 

While low light isn’t a problem for philodendrons, they do need a lot of moisture. I find mine does best sitting on a tray of rocks and water. 

Peace Lily

My other longest-lasting houseplant is a 20-year plus peace lily. Like the philodendron, it thrives in low light conditions and is low maintenance. I learned, by accident, that peace lily even prefers to be left alone in its container. It does better when root bound in a too-small pot. 

Peace lily needs a good amount of water, but it rebounds well if neglected for a while. Admittedly, mine sometimes wilts when I forget to water it, but it reliably perks right back up after a good soaking. I only give it a bloom booster a couple times of year, as peace lily does not like to be overfed. 


Last year, I gifted a friend a phalaenopsis orchid for a new home. While I was at it, I treated myself to one too. It’s a cheerful flower that does well indoors with enough humidity and moisture. 

Phalaenopsis is the most common type of orchid you see for sale in stores. Mine produces white flowers and doesn’t need direct light. It does well on my east-facing kitchen windowsill where it benefits from the steam coming from the sink while doing dishes. 

I soak the roots once per week and have already gotten two cycles of blooms from this particular orchid. 

After years of growing houseplants, I have found these to be the most successful, partly because they don’t need strong light or day-long light.

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