Indoor Plant Ideas

5 Indoor-Outdoor Plants That Love a Seasonal Change of Scenery

Kara Jillian Brown

Photo: Getty Images / Westend61
Not all plants will thrive indoors as well as outdoors. That sun-loving ponytail palm might look great on your balcony right now, but if you don’t have a sunny window for it when you move it inside, it’s not likely to hold up. The best indoor-outdoor plants not only tolerate a change of scenery, they really enjoy it.

“You want to make sure that when you’re bringing an outdoor plant in that requires a lot of sun, that you’re really organizing those plants so that you’re making sure they’re in a south-facing window, they can get as much light as possible when it comes to inside your home,” says Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers. Make sure that the plant you buy for outdoors now has a clear home inside for when the temperatures drop.

You’ll want to keep your indoor-outdoor plants in pots with proper drainage so they’re not swimming in water every time it rains. And remember: Different plants require different amounts of water as the seasons change, too.

“When you are bringing your plants in for the wintertime, some of them will go dormant or quiet, so you also want to make sure that you are not overwatering,” says Palomares. The type of indoor environment is another factor to consider as some heating systems drastically lower the humidity.

Palomares says it’s best to move your indoor-outdoor plants inside before the temperature drops below 45°F. “Make sure that you’re bringing in those plants before you get that first frost,” says Palomares. When transitioning your plants from inside to outside (and vice versa), you’ll need to slowly get your plant ready for its new environment before making the big move.

“If they’re outside in a very sunny spot, start to move them into a little bit more of a shady area outside and let them get used to the change in position and climate,” says Palomares. “That way when you’re bringing it inside it’s not a complete shock.”

Additionally, check your plants out for any pests and give them a good wash before moving them inside. “Hosing down the leaves and then spot-checking the soil in case you need to treat any of your plants with any kind of insecticide ensures that you’re not bringing any of those outside pests inside,” he says.

The 5 best indoor-outdoor plants

Spider Plant — $8.00

Palomares says spider plants are tropical indoor plants that can do great outside. Spider plants love bright indirect light but can tolerate low light. They are prone to root rot so be sure to plant them in a pot with a drainage hole. They’re also safe for pets.

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Gardenia — $35.00

“These are great flowering plants that flower from May to September [with a] very light, very fragrant floral bloom,” says Palomares. The blooms will go dormant in the winter, but they’ll add nice greenery to your outdoor space. They thrive in bright, indirect light.

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Snake Plant — $20.00

Hardy and reliable, the snake plant thrives inside as well as out. They’re happy in most light conditions, but be sure to plant them in a container with a drainage hole and well-draining soil because they don’t like too much water.

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Hydrangea — $50.00

Although often seen thriving outside, Palomares says hydrangeas do well inside, too. They like bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil when blooming.

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Parlor palm — $10.00

“Palms are also a favorite that people like to put outside that can come and thrive inside your home,” says Palomares. The parlor palm is a gorgeous, lively plant that can do well in a shady area protected from direct sunlight.

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