What's the best plants for indoors
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What's the best plants for indoors in this climate?
This is a hard question to answer since we all have a different definition of "best". Some people like plants that are as big and bushy as they can get, others like the absolute smallest and weedy plants, and there are several plants that don't like or can't thrive in a cold climate.
I'll begin with this fact: Houseplants require more attention to thrive than almost any other indoor plant. At this time of year, any kind of plant will not get enough direct sunlight or heat to thrive indoors, so you'll have to pay attention to the light and temperature requirements of your plants.
Do you have a very, very dark room, but no windows?
If you have this situation, you will need a combination of all three lights: direct sunlight, indirect sunlight, and light from the bulbs. Direct sunlight will burn the foliage of plants too large to move into shade, while most indoor bulbs will not put out enough light to provide much direct sunlight. An ideal lighting situation is one-third sunlight, one-third bulbs, one-third indirect sunlight. You will need several sources of indirect sunlight, since the light in a northern room may not be enough for most plants.
How do you tell which plants will do well?
One way is to look at which plants are already thriving in your houseplants. For instance, plants that are already used to colder temperatures will probably thrive better than those that need more heat. Plants that already thrive at the beginning of the growing season will likely be fine with the temperature of your house. Look at the leaves of the plant, and the leaves may be different than you expect if the plant is thriving in your house already. A larger plant will tend to have larger leaves than a smaller plant. If you don't know what kind of plant a plant is, try to identify it by a few key characteristics of its leaves. Look for hairs, thorns, colors, or patterns that will tell you what it is. You can also go to your local bookstore or library and look for books about plants and get some hints there.
What plants do you grow in winter?
For those of us who live in the northern climates, there are probably some plants that should be okay. When I was growing up, my house had a bunch of cactus and other low-growing plants that did well in winter. I don't really know how well they would do now because I don't live in a cold area any more, but a good start is things like Anthurium and, maybe even English ivy. Do a little research in advance of planting your cacti so you know what your plants will tolerate.
What do you grow in summer?
For most northern climates, the seasons are reversing. By the end of July, there is hardly any growth to speak of in most houseplants. Even though summer has barely started, it's still almost winter. For those plants that are already in your houseplants, think about what they need now and get them some protection from the wind, such as tiny pots with a tight fitting lid. If they are already in a cold place, think about where they will be later in the summer and get a very large, light pot or move them to a sunny window. The last thing you want is a cold, windy plant sitting in your room, so the pot will have to be big. For things that will not take cold well, such as bananas, try to find a location in your house where they will have good ventilation and sun.
Finally, there are some plants that I think will just not do well in this climate. Don't be discouraged if you have to water frequently, but do not try to keep this plant alive, your efforts will be futile and possibly make the situation worse. I won't even mention what the plant is, so you can try to keep a secret. I don't mean you should keep it a secret, but I also don't want you to know where it is or what it needs. Unfortunately, some people do this and I know of several plants that have died because of it.
Do your plants need a lot of attention?
The plants that I mentioned previously that grow better in colder temperatures need more attention than other houseplants, such as my opuntia. Usually, I'll take the plant out in the late spring or early summer and just bring it back every few weeks to water and feed it. My plant has grown so big now that it can't even be potted in anything but large, deep pots, so I now keep it in an 80x80x50x25 inch table. I can usually just pull this thing out and go about my life and it just keeps growing. If you can't find the right pot or table for your plants, you might need to start training it into a small, inside plant like a Philodendron or other big c