Even in Southern California, it can get too cold for plants outside and they'll suffer a freeze. So we were totally inspired by this image in January's Martha Stewart Living of winter citrus soaking in some diffused winter light. But in our small one bedroom we'd have to forgo the sofa in order to have room for this mini orchard. Plus we haven't really had much luck with citrus inside (as much as we would love a little kumquat tree). But we still love to have greenery around us to help filter the air and add some texture to a room. So for our money, we love a good Begonia.
They come in all kinds of varieties with fat leaves as big as your hand, little leaves as big as a quarter, light pink flowers, deep red flowers. Some leaves are furry with purple underneath, some have red stems. My very favorite: the Rex Begonia. These have the most interesting leaf patterns and vary the most in size and shape.
They all tend to have a waxy leaf that can withstand quite a bit and they'll live very happily in diffused light with damp soil. You can find a good selection at your local