Luckily, your house doesn’t have to feel like the tropics for all plants to thrive. Some plants actually prefer cooler temperatures. A few need cool temperatures to tell the plant it’s time to bloom.
Our panel of plant experts throughout the Lancaster County region shared their favorite plants that don’t mind the cold. These plants will thrive in a cool room, a spot with a draft or a cold windowsill.
Clivia’s leaves look like a popular winter houseplant, amaryllis, but the blooms are different. Clivias have clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers. Most bloom orange, but there are also yellow varieties.
Cold temperatures trigger clivias to bloom. During the winter, give clivia plants a break by placing them in a spot with temperatures around 40-60 degrees, says Jody Davey, manager of conservatory habitats at Hershey Gardens. That can be found in a partially heated garage, covered porch or unheated room.
Christmas cactus are similar to clivia. They need cooler temperatures and less sunlight to trigger blooming.
To prep schlumbergera to bloom, place the plant in a room that doesn’t have artificial light, says Jen Hollenbaugh, greenhouse manager for Esbenshade’s Garden Centers’ Lititz store. An unused spare room will give the right amount of light: 16 hours of dark and 8 hours of natural light. Another option is to put the cactus in a dark closet on the same light schedule. In six to eight weeks, it’s time to take the Christmas cactus out of training.
For a plant with a tropical look that doesn’t mind cool temperatures, try a sago palm, says Lois Nolt of Tillandsia& in Leola.
Sago palms look like palm trees but are more closely related to pine trees. They are one of the most common cycads. The Wood’s cycad is one of the rarest plants in the world. It’s extinct in the wild. Longwood Gardens has one of the few in cultivation.
Cast iron plant
Like its common name suggests, Aspidistra elatior is tough, Hollenbaugh says, and doesn’t need a warm room. It doesn’t need a lot of light or water either.
Cast iron plant is hardy to zone 7, a little warmer than Lancaster County. So it can summer outdoors but not in full sun.
Share your cool-loving plants below: