Last updated on December 2nd, 2011
What, exactly, would I grow in a north window that receives not one hour of direct sun, but stays bright for most of the day? Almost any foliage plant will thrive there. For flowers – and I must have flowers – there are African violets, wax begonias and impatiens. Florist’s plants, too, if fully budded and ready to bloom, can provide long-lasting color. Or, sun-loving plants can be brought to the budding stage under fluorescents, and then moved to the window as they bloom. The following list, arranged in a seasonal-sequence, shows the glorious possibilities for the sill and frame (and, if you have them, the shelves and brackets) of a bright but sunless window garden.
Frame (all seasons). Philodendron scandens or Grape Ivy, Cissus Rhombifolia
Sill. Ageratum (lifted from the garden); ferns (Boston, Rabbit’s Foot, Asparagus); pachysandra cuttings, rooted in a handsome China bowl; Chrysanthemums and Asters from the florist.
Shelves. Impatiens, Wax Begonias, African Violets, stems of philodendron in colorful glass vases.
Brackets. Maranta, Tolmiea menziesii, Hedera helix, Tradescantia
Sill. Narcissus paperwhites, forced in bowls of pebbles and water; ferns, pachysandra. For the holidays, arrange Poinsettias, Paperwhites and African Violets on a bed of evergreen boughs.
Shelves. Miniature poinsettias, impatiens, African violets, kalanchoe
Brackets. Maranta, Tolmiea menziesii, Hedera helix, Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncate)
Sill. Azalea, ferns, pachysandra, forsythia branches, forced in a big vase, primroses (Primula obconica, P. senensis), Chinese Sacred Lily forced in pebbles and water. Pots of tulips and hyacinths obtained from the florist.
Shelves. Primula malecoides (the “fairy” primrose), cyclamen, wax begonias, kalanchoe
Brackets. Maranta, Tolmiea menziesii, Hedera helix, Ceropegia woodii, Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii)
Sill. From the florist: Easter lily, gardenia, gloxinia. Ferns, pachysandra, caladium. Forced branches of apple, crabapple.
Shelves. African violets, wax begonias, impatiens, coleus. Also, any of the myriad shade-tolerant annuals available from the florist or garden center at this time.
Brackets. Maranta, Tolmiea menziesii, Hedra helix, Ceropegia woodii, Oxalis
This list, of course, is by no means complete. But I can only write of the plants which I have grown myself, successfully, in a bright, north window.
November Brilliance: Schlumbergera Truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)
Setting Up a Window Garden
African Violets: My Easy, Always-In-Bloom Program
Tender Bulbs in Pebbles & Water
Irresistable Flowers to Brighten the Indoor Winter Garden