December 17th, 2021

Garden Indoors Over Winter

Red Amaryllis Flower

As the days are getting shorter and the temperature outside is dropping, there’s no better time to cheer up your indoor space with plants. Flowers and trees that thrive inside during winter and then can be moved outdoors when the weather warms provide a special bonus! Here are some of our favorite houseplants that also love spending summers outside.

Miniature Citrus
Enjoying freshly picked citrus is not something we get to do that often in Illinois. Luckily, there are several options of lime, lemon and orange trees that now come in miniature varieties and can be grown indoors over winter. The trees are able to adapt to the lower light conditions of winter, but be sure to place in a spot that gets 5-6 hours of direct sunlight after its fruit production. Water your tree as you do other houseplants (thoroughly) while allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Come summer, find a sunny area for your citrus tree that is protected from too much wind.

Amaryllis belladonna
Amaryllis have become a popular holiday gift due to the ease and speed of growing into a beautiful collection of flowers. However, what most people don’t realize is these bulbs make wonderful additions to your summer garden container as well. Start them indoors by planting the bulb in a nutritious potting mix and place where it will receive direct sunlight. Cut the flowers from the stem after flowering and continue to water your plant all summer to allow the leaves to fully develop. In fall, when leaves begin to yellow, cut the leaves back to about two inches from bulb top. Store your bulb in a cool, dry place for a minimum of six weeks – then you can plant and start the process over!


Geraniums are a common addition to hanging baskets and planters. You can bring those baskets inside and continue to enjoy flowers all winter long if you have a spot that allows for the plants to get six hours of sunlight. Use a soil-less, loomy potting mix and be careful not to keep the soil too wet. Time-release fertilizers are a good choice for year-round growth and flowering.

Folia crotons

Snake Plants
Snake plants are hardy and adaptable, making them the perfect choice for anyone not sure their thumbs are green. They’ll do just fine under any lighting conditions and only need to be watered about once a week. Unlike other plants, the snake plant produces oxygen at night, making this a great choice for your bedroom or other living areas. Their yellow and green leaves make them an interesting addition to any patio space when the weather warms.

Ponytail Palms

Another forgiving plant is the Ponytail Palm. While this plant prefers bright light, if you give it direct outdoor light for half of the year, it will be okay in lower light conditions while wintering indoors. These “trees” add visual interest to any space. They prefer dry soil and shouldn’t be fertilized more than two or three times a year.


It’s tough to top the beautifully colored leaves of the croton plant – scarlet, orange, green and yellow splotches make this stand out all year long! They will thrive in a sunny location and like to have their leaves misted once a week if the humidity is low. It’s safe to move this tropical beauty outdoors once the nighttime temperatures will stay above 50°F. Every part of this plant, however, is poisonous, so they are not recommended for homes with curious pets or small children.

Indoor plants are an easy way to liven up your indoor space and help to purify the air during the months that are largely spent indoors. It’s nice to bring some of that “outdoor living” with you throughout the cold months. Having plants that can split their time inside and out are a great way to start.