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These are the 21 best plants for cold-weather climates

christmas cactus
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Maybe you live in a climate that has long winters or you’re looking to move, and you want to make sure you can still grow plants in cold weather. These indoor and outdoor plants are cold-tolerant plants that can withstand a bit of frost if placed outside.

What is a cold-weather climate?

The earth is categorized by five different climates. They are tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar. The majority of the United States is in dry, temperate, and  continental. A cold-weather climate would be considered continental and would range from zones 1 to 4.

If you live in any of those zones, you likely experience long winters with temps that can dip as low as -22° or colder regularly. These areas are harder to grow plants outdoors because of the shorter growing season and the frigid winters. It’s also harder to grow plants indoors due to the short days that are often overcast.

Cold-tolerant plants for the home

For inside the home, there are many plants that can survive and even thrive in lower light and shorter day situations. The biggest hurdle with indoor plant care during the winter is moisture. When the furnace kicks on, the humidity in the home drops, and many plants dry out much faster than they would during the summer months. These plants can survive a little neglect and won’t die just from one missed watering.

ZZ plant

The ZZ plant is a hardy and easy-to-care-for plant with simple, dark green foliage and a reliable growth rate even when ignored or forgotten. This plant won’t die off when temperatures drop and can survive a drought when not watered enough.

Snake plant

Like the ZZ plant, the snake plant is a low-maintenance plant that can survive chilly days in the home and dry out when the heater is turned up.


While this plant’s moisture levels will need to be monitored more than the two previous plants, it does really well in low light. The short days of winter won’t kill off this plant, but keep an eye on that soil. While it can withstand drying out a bit, you don’t want to go too long without watering.


This plant will go perfectly in the drafty room that you avoid putting any plants in at all. Clivias prefer a cooler period to help encourage their blooms to appear.

Jade plant

A stunning plant that looks like a small tree, the jade plant can tolerate cooler temps and low watering. When this plant dries out from the radiator heat or forgotten watering, it will not die or lose a bunch of foliage.

Christmas cactus

Its name says it all. The Christmas cactus is excellent for wintertime. It’s easy to care for and won’t wither away when it’s dry.

Succulents and cactus

While it may seem odd to have a desert plant on this list, these plants are great for dry and chillier winters. You wouldn’t want to put them outside for the day, but placed near a window with lots of sun and the occasional water, succulents and cactus are a great way to go. These plants hate wet feet, so be careful not to overwater them.

Frost-resistant plants for the garden

Outdoor gardens and porches can feel empty and sad without some pop of green or a healthy plant to welcome you home. These winter-hardy plants can survive within the hard winters.

blue spruce
Yoksel Zok/Unsplash

Pines and evergreens

These can seem like an obvious choice, but pines and evergreens come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Here are some of the best and most hardy of them all.

  • Japanese Yew
  • Blue spruce
  • Browns Yew
  • Cotoneaster

Bushes and hedges

Perfect for a pop of color, these bushes and hedges are unique and will keep your landscape looking beautiful all winter long. You can even look forward to some late winter blooms!

  • Boxwood hedge
  • Cypress topiary
  • Thread-Branch cypress
  • Ligustrum
  • English boxwood
  • Winter Jasmine
  • Holly bush


If you need a taller winter tree, these three are some of the most stunning trees during late winter. Some are blooming, and some change colors to keep you on your toes all season long.

  • Camellias
  • Japanese Maple
  • Star Magnolia

It’s easy to see that you can find a plant for any situation. Just like in the natural world, there are types of plants for every environment. With a little research, you can find a plant to suit your needs, even if it’s cold outside.

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Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
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