Looking for Northsiders (the dreaded north-window predicament)

aquadriacJune 18, 2011

Houseplants are my hobby... I love them and talk to them. I'm sure I'm not alone here. BUT I live in a small apartment with only 2 North-facing windows to work with...

I want to know what plants you guys have had success with in N facing windows... No direct sunlight in the winter time, and an hour or 2 of d-sunlight in the morning and from 2pm-sunset in the summer months.

So far I've personally had a lot of luck with Mother-in-law's tongue, Chinese Evergreen, Janet Craig and Rainbow Dracaenia's, Heart-leafed Philodendrons, Jade, Paph Orcids, Benjamina(?) Ficus tree, Peace Lilies, Moses in a boat, and I've managed to keep a pot or two of donkeys tail alive but leggy for two years now. And an Anita Palm that looks happy, although I wish I could give her more light.

I've tried the mother of pearl succlents and killed them everytime (only twice- I only have so much money for plants!!)

Any other plants you guys have had luck with in a low-light situation?? AND WHATS YOUR FAVORITE?! I love my little ficus tree and my chinese evergreen!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I'd add pothos to your list. Have you considered hanging a shop light? You'd be surprised how much light they add.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:30PM
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Spider plants do well in low light. Especially the all green kind. Ive also heard most ferns do well in that environment as well.
Living in an apartment sure can limit your lighting situation. I only have 1 window in mine :(

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:44PM
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wandering_willow(6 NYC)

Dieffenbachia! I can't say enough good things about these plants! Huge glossy leaves, variegated to your desire based on the variety you get, give it enough time it developes a beautiful thick trunk and grows tree-like.

No light? no problem - it will just grow slowly

Suddenly you find a way to give it a ton of light and are worried it will burn? nope, it will just speed up it's growing with even bigger and more leaves

Forget to water? That's ok, worst case scenario you may have a few lower leaves yellow and fall off

Over water? As long as you have it in a decent draining mix no problem, maybe some yellow leaves as well.

This is seriously the most "do-gooder" cooperative house plant I have ever grown! I love mine!

(One caution is it is poisonous to ingest, so if you have toddler maybe not a good choice, pets seem to know to avoid it)


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 10:21PM
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What floor are you on? Height seems to help a lot.

I noticed that my northfacing windows aren't ENTIRELY northfacing. They get enough direct light from the west that... well, basically my Hippeastrum started growing sideways. Yeah.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:13AM
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I'd go with a growing light setup. This way, you can grow what you want. Sure, there are some plants that can tolerate a north window, but not many will thrive there. I used to live in a townhouse that had only north windows to work with, and I was quite successful with lots of jades & succulents, among other plants. I basically put them outside on the balcony in summer, and under grow lights the rest of the year. If you have no balcony or patio, use the lights ALL year long.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 12:15PM
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You asked about favorites. There are numerous Chinese Evergreen/Aglaonemas around..Some with dark red, orange and silver leaves.


All three are in north windows, year round.

Someone suggested Spider Plants. Good idea. They come in colors, other than green. Green edge-white center, white edge-green center, some have curly leaves/Bonnie.
Another is called Fire Flash, green with orange center. Walmart gets these in every so often.

Marantas/Calatheas, like Prayer Plants..

Philodendrons, Begonias. If you're looking for a truly inexpensive Begonia..Go to your garden center/store and purchase a Wax Begonia. They're probably half price by now..leaves are light green, medium green or purple..they bloom year round.

Some African Violets do fine in north...

Dracaena, 'Song of India,' especially the slightly variegated Song. Cast Iron/Aspidistra. Sansevierias. Pothos.

Sounds like you have quite a few plants in your two windows now..I know how that goes. lol.

Are you looking for large or small plants? Hanging or upright? Toni

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Those are some beautiful evergreens Toni!
I want one so bad now! This forum is bad for my poor boyfriends wallet! :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 7:51PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

One of my kitchen windows faces East, not North, but it is underground with a light well, so very low light. I have an Anthurium, 3 types of Chlorophytum, Schefflera, African violets, Scindapsus and Begonia bowerae. Talking of wallet trouble, all these except the AV's were grown from cuttings acquired from all over the place. (And the AV's were on sale.)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Howdy Moosetrackz. Thanks much. The Aglaos came from Thailand in 2009.
Poor b/f's and husbands' wallets. lol. Isn't that one thing they're good for? lol

Flora..You sure know how to save..Cuttings AND sale plants..
Problem is, when you're on GW or surfing the net, come across beautiful plants, it's not easy finding cuttings.

There are many online nurseries that sell inexpensive healthy, good-size plants.

Flora, can you describe a light well? The area can't be too dark if you're able to keep Schefflera and African Violets..Do the violets bloom? Toni

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 1:14PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Toni - my house is a terrace (row house) built in 1820. All the houses have basements and that is where the kitchens were originally, though some people have moved their's upstairs. Since only the servants worked down there the builders were not concerned about light conditions. The homes are directly on the pavement, no front gardens, so to get light into the basements there is a grating in the pavement and a window below ground level with a light well (they are actually known as 'areas' but I thought light well was a more common expression.) Sounds dreadful but actually it gets a reasonable amount of light. It is also quite amusing identifying the neighbours by their feet as they walk past above. Since the houses are also on a hill the back kitchen window is above ground level. The AVs sit on the central bar of the sash window so they are slightly higher than the sill.

Here is a link that might be useful: Areas

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 7:28AM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Two plants that have done well for me in low light conditions are Aspidistra, and the ZZ plant.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 11:06AM
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Flora, sounds like what we call Garden Appartments or English Basements.
After moving away from home, my first appartment was an English Basement. Depending on the room, when looking out the window, I saw people's feet and the sidewalk. lol.

It was then I was given three house plants, but killed them w/too much love.
It took research to find what I did wrong. It wasn't lack of light that sent my plants to plant heaven; the main windows faced east. Like most who start out, I over-watered.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 2:03PM
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I can't move anything outside this summer so I'm experimenting with seeing how stuff does inside for me year-round. One REALLY interesting finding is that apparently my Euphorbia greenwayii is fairly happy in this north facing window by which it is sitting. So far it's put out two branches, which are completely normal looking and not etiolated at all.

Oxalis triangularis just started blooming again too.

Additionally my crotons seem to be doing reasonablewell in that window.

I'm thinking some of the shade-loving amaryllids might work to although a I said earlier, Hippies are not shade loving. Seeing how my Haemanthus does in another north facing window right now.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 6:29PM
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