Many people are unaware that the northern window is a perfect place to grow indoor plants. It is especially suited to cultivating tropical rainforest under-story plants.
The relatively small amount of light a north-facing window receives is perfect for keeping these low-light plants a deep, luxuriant shade of green throughout the winter months and year round.
It’s easy to see that choosing just the right plants for your northern window garden is the key to success. In this article, we share plant choices, care and advice to help you set up a lovely garden in this often neglected window. Read on to learn more.
Make The Most Of Your Space
If you have a large north-facing window, you can make a stunning floor to ceiling display by combining hanging plants, table plants, and larger floor plants. The best way to organize these is to put larger plants requiring the least sun in floor containers.
Place these a little farther from the window to give yourself space to access the plants that need a little more sun.
Set up a shelf at windowsill level for smaller plants that need more sun and will need to be turned from time-to-time to get even light.
You could just put these smaller plants on your windowsill, but that puts them at risk if your outdoor temperatures tend to drop very low.
Additionally, water from plants on the windowsill will damage the sill, and you won’t be able to close your curtains or blinds without the risk of damaging your plants.
For this reason, it’s better to set up a low shelf or table just inside the window for your plants and leave the sill free.
Hanging plants add a third tier to your collection. Secure hooks in the ceiling far enough from the window to allow space for the plants to grow and for you to open and close the window coverings as you wish.
Be sure to set your hooks firmly in a beam and check them from time-to-time to make certain they are still securely in place and will continue safely holding your plants.
Creating The Most Attractive Setting
Grouping a lot of plants in your northern window this gives the opportunity to create a very textured display.
Plants growing in the under-story of the rainforest are many and varied, yet they all need the same constant, measured amount of light your window will provide.
Because of this, you can set up a lush and eclectic garden that is very pleasing to the eye.
Some of the best plants for a large northern window include orchids of all sorts, the many and various types of dieffenbachia, a wide variety of ferns, different types of colorful bromeliads and a variety of others such as:
- Aspidistra (iron plant)
- Gardenia – learn more about Fragrant Gardenia Care
- Aralia (More on Polyscias plant care)
If your window is on the smaller side, these compact plants may be better choices:
This video demonstrates that a small north-facing window with a deep sill can be a good spot for low light orchids!
Wintering Low-Medium light Orchids/North Window
Good choices for hanging baskets in front of a large or small north window include:
- Tradescantia (aka Wandering Jew)
- Purple Heart
- Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plants)
- Rosary Vine – Ceropegia woodii
- Prayer Plant – Care Info Here
It’s easy to see that many of the more vigorous, popular houseplants will do well in a northern window. The same holds true of some of the more tender flowering choices in houseplants.
For this reason, you can make a very interesting mixed arrangement of plants using such unlikely companions such as yucca elephantipes, asparagus fern, cyclamen, and philodendron.
Any low-light houseplant should do quite well in this setting. To get local advice on good choices, consult the well-informed staff of a local nursery or join a local gardening club to get first-hand information and possibly some starts of successful north window plants. [source]
Blooming Plants Make Nice Temporary Residents
In addition to low-light loving houseplants, you can also add some seasonal color to your northern window garden by bringing in seasonal bloomers such as:
- African Violets flower all year round
- Moth Orchids
- Flowering Azaleas
When the plants have finished their blooming cycle, move them to a more suitable location and replace them with other temporary color sources.
Take Care Of Your Window Garden
As with all good indoor house plants, good drainage is of the utmost importance. Be sure to line the bottom of your pots and planters with pot shards or Styrofoam peanuts to provide good drainage.
Use a light, well-drained potting mix for most plants. Choose a specially prepared substrate for African violets, orchids, and bromeliads.
Generally speaking, houseplants should be watered generously when the soil becomes dry or nearly dry. It pays to learn about the specific requirements of each plant in your care.
For the most part, giving your plants the right amount of water and sunlight and occasional feedings with a weak mixture of a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer will keep them healthy and help prevent problems with insects and fungus.
Plants that are made to stand in water and are kept too wet tend to attract disease and pestilence.
All of the plants that will do well in this setting have fairly high humidity requirements, so it’s a good idea to put pebble trays under your large floor planters.
Equip your plant shelf or table with a pebble tray. The idea is that the water will evaporate and keep the air immediately surrounding the plants properly humid.
Keep the trays filled with water to provide constant humidity to your collection, but don’t allow the water to touch the bottom of your planters.
Mist your hanging plants daily to provide humidity. Frequent misting is a good idea for your whole collection.
A North Window Garden Adds Interest And Beauty To Your Home
Keeping healthy houseplants is a good way to improve indoor air quality and bring a sense of calm and abundance to your environment. A varied collection of low-light houseplants can add a new dimension of interest to your north-facing window.
Refer to the advice presented here as you create your own beautiful north-window garden.