4 Surprising Plants That Can Thrive in a Drafty Apartment

updated Jan 17, 2020
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Winter is in full force and, if you’re living in an old apartment, so are the drafts invading your home. Those nooks and crannies near doors and windows are your worst enemy if you live in colder climates, and they’re likely not-so-kind to your house plants either. Finding hardy plants that can withstand lower temperatures is essential in the winter, but according to Jason Chongue, co-founder of The Plant Society, it’s easier than it seems. 

“When it comes to cold and drafty homes and apartments you want to select plants that may experience these conditions in their natural environment,” Chongue says. Searching for plants that are native to colder areas is a strong first step. “Their foliage and form have naturally evolved to cope with drafty environments,” Chongue says. But there are a range of plants native to dryer, more arid climates that do just as well in drafty apartments. Here are four surprising plants that will live happily in brisk rooms.

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Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa (better known as Monstera or Swiss Cheese Plant) is as fashionable as it is hardy. Popular in the 1950’s and 1970’s, the Monstera has recently made a comeback, and is now a staple in trendy cafes, boutiques and restaurants—with its large emerald leaves, it adds a touch of life to nearly any room. 

Despite being native to jungle environments, these plants have winter lasting power: They’re able to withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They do best in semi-sheltered areas with indirect sunlight, and should be watered every few weeks.

Buy: Medium Monstera Deliciosa in grow pot, $33 at The Sill

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With its vibrant coral flowers and long, hardy leaves, the clivia plant makes for a great companion during cold, dry winters. In fact, these plants are known to prefer temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit: Because they typically flower in early spring, colder temperatures will trigger their blooming periods. And if heating your apartment during the winter tends to leave it feeling dry, even better. Clivias are native to South Africa and prefer an arid atmosphere, so they only need to be watered every few weeks, and the soil should dry between waterings.

Buy: Clivia Miniata, $52 at White Flower Farms

Credit: Vitaliy Kyrychuk/Shutterstock

Snake Plant

You already love snake plant because it’s low-maintenance, and we’ve got more good news: It’s also surprisingly resilient in drafty environments. It can survive in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and, being native to West Africa, can go up to a month without being watered. The snake plant’s sharp leaves make it a great addition to a bookshelf (if small) or the corner of a room (if large)—and if you’re lucky, it may one day bloom little white buds.

Buy: American Plant Exchange Snake Plant, 6″ Pot, $19.99 at Amazon

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When in doubt, cacti make excellent indoor companions. The prickly pear cactus, or the Opuntia, is no exception, Chongue says. Despite being native to warmer temperatures, they also grow wild in Canada and are known to withstand temperatures as low as negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit (brr!). They’re happiest in well-lit areas and when watered sparingly. Their signature circular paddle shape adds an aesthetically pleasing element to your design scheme, but be warned: Their glochids, or prickles, are sharp, so give this plant lots of space.

Buy: Winter Resistant Prickly Pear Cactus Pads, $7.83 for two at Amazon