GROWING THINGS: Finding cold-tolerant houseplants for Canadian winters

Q: I would like to put a planter in the foyer of my house, and am wondering if you can recommend some plants that won’t be bothered by bursts of cold air when the front door is opened. The door is about six feet away from where the planter would be.

A: I actually had to read your question twice as I don’t get many requests for cold-tolerant houseplants. The good news is that there are some that will fit the bill and tolerate the location you have described. Now, having said this the stipulation I must add is that it is very important to not have the door open for longer periods of time when the weather is very cold outside. Even the hardiest plant may succumb when exposed to a cold draft even for a few minutes when the outdoor temperature is frigid. The key word here is that these plants may ‘tolerate’ the draft and not that they would survive long exposure. Here is a short list of plants that should tolerate the conditions:

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Aspidistra (cast-iron plant). SunMedia

Aspidistra or Cast-Iron Plant

This plant truly lives up to its name and is a real toughie. Bearing glossy dark green leaves, 25 – 75 cm long and 7.5 – 10 cm wide, cast-iron plants may eventually reach 1 m tall. Plants with white- or gold-variegated leaves are available. What makes this plant so tough? Well, a list of its abilities to withstand tough conditions include:

• Tolerate dust as well as heat, cold, wet soil, drought, neglect and dimly lighted places.

• Tolerate temperatures as low as –2 C without injury to the foliage.

• Tolerate light levels as low as 10-foot

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