In Montana’s harsh winters, it’s too cold for much of anything green — other than evergreens — to survive let alone thrive in the frigid winter weather under the big sky. Just because it’s blustery outside doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all things green and colorfully blooming indoors during winter. In fact, at Gainan’s Flowers, we absolutely love helping our Billings neighbors warm up their homes with some of the best indoor plants for winter. The following are our top five favorites.
Let it Snow Cypress Tree
We absolutely love small, potted cypress trees for winter and the holiday season. Perfect for decorating your own home or for giving as a gift, a cypress looks beautiful adorned with a small strand of red beads or miniature ornaments.
Given the proper care, a potted cypress will thrive for many years to come. This conifer prefers a well-draining pot with a loamy soil. Cypress trees will fare best in a location that receives full sun in the morning and afternoon and evening shade. Be sure to keep the soil moist, watering whenever it’s dry down to an inch.
Festive Christmas Amaryllis
The amaryllis is a bulb plant that blooms with beautiful clusters of large, bright-red flowers that are perfect for the holiday season. These bulbs aren’t dependent on the temperature or the light, and they will bloom about six to eight weeks after planting. It’s easy to plant them in preparation for a winter bloom.
A cousin of lilies, amaryllis plants are also poisonous. Their toxins aren’t as potent as those contained in lilies, but they can be dangerous for pets and people, alike. If you display an amaryllis in your home, be sure to put it in a location that’s well out of the reach of small children and household pets.
3. Christmas Cactus
Another winter favorite is the Christmas cactus. These plants feature deep green leaf-like segments and bloom with pretty tubular flowers in attractive shades of red, pink, magenta, orange, and white. Christmas cacti respond to the length of daylight they receive, and when the days grow short enough around Christmastime, they’ll begin to bloom. Other varieties of this cactus, the Thanksgiving and Easter cactuses, look similar but bloom near their respective holidays.
Another reason to love the Christmas cactus is because it’s one of the few decorative plants not poisonous for people or our pets. Ingesting any part of the plant will likely cause an upset stomach, but Christmas cactus contains no toxins and is safe to keep anywhere in a home with small children, cats, and dogs.
Cared for properly, a Christmas cactus will grow and continue to bloom for many years to come. Be sure to provide them a home inside a pot that drains easily, using potting soil formulated for cacti or succulents. While this plant is a cactus, it’s actually native to the humid forests of Brazil. As a result, it won’t tolerate drought as well as its desert cactus cousins. Be sure to water it regularly, but never let it sit in a pool of standing water.
Kalanchoe plants are flowering succulents that fare especially well in homes during the winter because they love the warm, dry air created by a running furnace or wood stove. They’ll brighten up your winter with flowers in vibrant shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, and white. Plus, they usually begin blooming in the fall and don’t stop until spring, so you’ll be able to enjoy their pretty clusters of flowers for the entire season. Keep yours in a sunny location inside a pot that drains easily.
The poinsettia is another seasonal favorite. In red and white, poinsettia plants make wonderful holiday decorations and gifts. They’re also available in other colors like pink, orange, and yellow! Most people mistake poinsettia flowers for their brightly colored bracts (leaves), but the plant’s flowers are actually the small clusters of yellow found at the center of the bracts.
Poinsettias like to receive lots of sunlight and regular watering that are allowed to drain through the soil completely.
Outdoor Floral Inspiration for Cold Climates
Winter Sparkle Outdoor Planter
Billings is located in the USDA’s hardiness zone 4, which means there aren’t many green things that will survive our sub-zero winters, if they remain above ground. Evergreens, however, do quite well. They also make the perfect winter arrangements for decorating your front door or front porch for the holiday season. Wreaths of evergreen boughs or evergreen baskets decorated with berries, sparkling willows, and frosted pine cones look stunning in the cold weather and will last through the season.
For more information about the best plants for the winter months, we welcome you to stop by Gainan’s Flowers for personalized advice and recommendations.