Outdoor Garden Plants that Thrive Indoors

Coleus plant
Roban Kramer / Flickr / CC By 2.0

It's a shame to lose all your tender, outdoor garden plants each winter. Many are actually warm weather perennials that will grow all year if brought indoors. The shade tolerant plants make especially good choices for houseplants since homes have less light than outdoors, There are other growing conditions to take into consideration, like cooler temperatures indoors and less humid. Tropical plants brought in as houseplants may need extra attention. Start by acclimating the plants gradually. Bring them indoors while the windows are still open, to bridge the change in conditions. You'll have some challenges and failures, but it’s worth the try.

  • 01 of 10


    Rex begonias
    leoleobobeo / Pixabay / CC By 0

    Begonias are becoming more popular with plant breeders and many varieties make excellent indoor foliage plants. In particular, Rex begonias, with their unusual colors, patterns, and textures, will make nice houseplants. They can be difficult to grow indoors​ because they prefer a high humidity, but growing them on a pebble tray helps. Rex begonias also like warm soil and a chance to dry out slightly between waterings. (Moderate Light)

  • 02 of 10


    Fuchsia plants
    ellepacca / Pixabay / CC By 0

    Fuchsias look very tropical, but they actually enjoy cool temperatures in the 60 - 70 degree F. range. They benefit from a winter rest, so don't expect a lot of flowers during winter. Bring the plants indoors before frost and trim them to about 6 inches. Place in a cool spot (45-50 degrees F.) with low light. Water lightly, only when the soil feels dry. In spring, move the plant back into a sunny spot and resume watering regularly. New growth should start soon. Repot with fresh soil and begin feeding every other week. (Bright Light)

  • 03 of 10

    Geraniums (Pelargonium)

    Potted Geraniums
    Photo: Michael Davis / Getty Images

    Gardeners have been overwintering geranium plants for years. You can allow them to go dormant until spring, but if you have a bright south facing the window, you can have repeat blooms all winter. Geraniums that have been growing outdoors in pots make the best candidates​ because their roots won't be disturbed. Bring them in before frost and give the plants a light trim. Water when dry, feed monthly and they should bloom and be pest free. (Bright Direct Light)

  • 04 of 10

    Abutilon (Flowering Maple)

    PollyDot / Pixabay / CC By 0

    Abutilon, the flowering or parlor maple, is often grown in containers or beds as an annual, but they are actually tropical shrubs. Abutilon like bright light, from a south or west facing the window, and warm temperatures of 65 degrees F. or higher. Avoid drafts. Allow the soil to dry between watering and feed every other week with a water-soluble fertilizer. Your abutilon can be pruned lightly in the fall, to maintain its size and shape, and will often bloom in early to mid-spring. Keep an eye out for pests. (Bright Light)

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    Caladium leaves
    Driendl Group / Getty Images

    The same Caladium plants sold as tubers are potted and sold, at a much higher price, as houseplants. Caladiums can tolerate full shade outdoors, but like indirect light indoors. Keep their soil moist, but not wet. Caladiums do not like to be cold, preferring temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees F. If the leaves start to yellow and the plant is struggling, allow it to die back and rest until spring. Store in a cool, dry spot and repot in February or March. (Low to Moderate Light)

  • 06 of 10

    Boxwood and Myrtle

    Boxwood Topiaries
    Matthew Ward / Getty Images

    Small potted evergreen boxwood and myrtle make easy going houseplants and nice winter decorations. They prefer a direct light source. Turning the pot every few days will keep them growing evenly on all sides. Humidity is crucial to evergreen houseplants and misting is necessary. Water when the soil feels dry and feed monthly. Keep watch for spider mites. (Bright to Moderate Light)

  • 07 of 10


    Coleus plant
    Roban Kramer / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Coleus is everywhere these days. The old-fashioned seed-grown varieties that prefer some shade make especially nice houseplants. If your plants are too large to bring in, coleus root quickly from cuttings. Give coleus indirect bright light. They like to be warm but will tolerate cooler nights and temperatures down to about 55 degrees F. Keep the soil moist and feed monthly. Be sure to pinch off any flowers as they appear, to keep the plants from going to seed. (Moderate Light)

  • 08 of 10

    Tropical Hibiscus

    Tropical Hibiscus
    Federica Grassi / Getty Images

    Hibiscus adapt well to being indoors and may bloom all winter if kept in a very sunny window. You can trim the plants, to shape them, but hibiscus grow slowly in winter and you may not see any new growth. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, but feel free to mist daily. If you don’t have an ideally warm, sunny window, opt for a cool spot with average light and let them drop their leaves and go dormant. Keep an eye out for aphids. (Bright Direct Light)

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Hot Peppers

    Ornamental Chile Peppers
    Marie iannotti

    Believe it or not, peppers are tropical perennials and can be kept growing and producing for several years. Smaller hot peppers are the easiest to bring indoors, but any pepper is worth a try. As with growing peppers outdoors, they like their soil to be a little dry and a little underfed. But bright direct light is necessary to set flowers and grow peppers. Watch for aphids and fungus gnats. (Bright Direct Light)

  • 10 of 10

    Herbs: Basil, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Grass, Rosemary

    Growing Basil
    Marie Iannotti

    Many herbs do well indoors. For annuals and biennials, like basil and parsley, it’s best to start with a small, young plant. Chives are a particularly easy herb to grow indoors. Even if they are hit by frost, they will rejuvenate indoors in a pot. Perennials, like Lemon grass and rosemary, can be potted and brought back and forth from the outdoor herb garden to the indoor window sill. Be sure they all get bright light, or they will get leggy. Trim and use your herbs to keep them bushy and full. (Bright Light)