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What winter on the North shore needs is more green. All that snow and gray going on outdoors is fine, but framing your winter scene in green will uplift your spirits immeasurably. For that, you’ll have to turn to houseplants. Grow a houseplant, and winter is going to be sublime. With a chorus line of green things sitting on the sill, you’ll scarcely notice the histrionics happening on the far side of the windowpanes. Fortunately, everybody is conspiring to make it happen. Thanks to garden centers, supermarkets, and every place in between, there are plenty of growing options to brighten windowsills throughout the region. 

Further good news is that houseplants are easier than ever, thanks to the bounty of low-maintenance, beginner-friendly botanicals available. Sure, you’ll need to take care of your newly adopted green roommates. But think of your TLC duties as seasonal therapy. Really, houseplant maintenance is like meditation. While visiting those plants with a watering can, reap the benefit of their beauty. While sprucing them up, lean in to inhale fragrant leaves or flowers and admire their handsome foliage. You’ll be happier, thanks to your botanical buddies. With houseplants to keep a gardener preoccupied, winter is going to come and go in a blink. 

Meanwhile, there are advantages to growing on the North shore where you enjoy a double dose of bright light. The proximity to the ocean lets indoor gardeners bask in more sunbeams—especially if light is unobstructed by trees or other buildings nearby. The additional light factor expands the repertoire of plants that might thrive in your windowsills while also making your plants more compact and better-looking specimens. Lack bright light? No problem. You will be amazed at the options available no matter how much light is flowing through your panes. 

What works on your windowsill? Surprisingly, many tropical and tender plants are perfectly happy to share our homes. In general, they like basking in the same temperatures that we find comfortable. Placement can be a little more challenging for the beginner. You’ll have the best luck by matchmaking your window exposures with plants that prefer bright or shady situations—depending on what you have available.

Take stock of your window options before shopping. When you visit a garden center, ask about a plant’s light preferences before purchasing. Most flowering houseplants prefer a bright, south-facing window and pump out more flowers as a result. Succulents also love bright light. An exception is cyclamen, which seems to thrive best on an east- or west-facing sill.

Foliage plants such as Chinese evergreens, ficus, alocasias, lemon cypress, and spider plants can easily be hosted in the indirect light of an east- or west-facing window. Growing an amaryllis or paperwhite? Although bright light is not necessary, increased light does produce a more compact show. 

No matter which way your windows face or what you grow, you can do this beautifully. The trick lies in anchoring your plants in containers that make them shine. This really is the fun part. Ditch that plain green plastic pot that housed your plant in the supermarket, and get creative with the package. Pairing your green performer with a container that enhances its foliar colors or blossom hues is going to bring the whole picture up a notch. But be practical. Find a container that provides enough room to let the roots grow but isn’t overly generous. Make sure the container has drainage—drill holes if necessary or use a cachepot to catch escaping water. Your plants are going to do just fine.

Not only will houseplants change your life, but they’ll also give the entire family a lift. For newbies as well as practiced green thumbs, there’s something fulfilling about nurturing a plant in your home and watching it perform. No more yearning for spring—winter is going to feel really good this year.