The Q&A Archives: Indoor flower plant

Question: Are there any indoor flower plant whose flowers are fragrant?

Answer: There are many types of fragrant plants from which to choose. Before deciding which plants are for you, consider these factors. First, approximate the hours of sunlight at each window in which you could place the plants. Also determine which areas are cool and which are near heat sources. Many fragrant plants need a cool place in order to bloom. Others, like jasmine, need a warm humid area, often found in a laundry room, kitchen or shower area. Very few will flourish in a dry, warm spot, but I have found that a hoya bloomed riotously in a west window near a fireplace. One warning: some folks find that a blooming hoya is really too sweet in a small room.

There are a few common sense rules to follow for success with most plants, including the fragrant ones. I have found that all need fresh air and fairly cool temperatures, especially at night. Good light is important, but there are certain plants that will adjust to less light and still flower. A good, well-drained pottinf soil such as Pro Mix is safe and easy to use. Most houseplant fertilizers are fine when used as directed or even diluted a little bit more than recommended. I usually stop feeding my plants at Halloween and don't start again until the New Year; during the dark days of December the plants don't need as much food, although a plant in active bloom in strong sun will benefit from half-strength fertilizer once during this period.

It is important to find the right spot for each fragrant plant. I can grow fragrant olive everywhere in my house where there is a window, including places that only get a brief kiss of morning sunlight. On the other hand, jasmine is much more selective.

Jasmine (Jasminum sambac), a native of India, is a wonderfully fragrant vine that needs a warm, sunny spot when grown indoors. It will take partial shade while outdoors for the summer. It loves humidity, which can be created by pans of pebbles filled with water under plants in sunny bay windows. Grow the jasmine in a hanging basket above the other plants and keep it cut back and fed so it looks healthy and bushy. A stringy-looking jasmine probably needs trimming, food, and more light. A summer outdoors will usually remedy any health problem.

There are many types of jasmine. Most require the kind of care outlined above, but some may bloom more readily than others. I feel that if I am going to have a hanging basket or a vine, it may as well be a jasmine. It is really worth growing jasmines because of their delightful fragrance.

You might also enjoy growing a citrus tree. The blossoms have legendary fragrance.
Citrus like 8-12 hours of sunlight a day. Full-spectrum fluorescent grow lights are the best supplement. Light is a key element for flower production in the spring. Winter foliage will tolerate slightly lower light conditions.

Citrus grow best between 55F and 85F. They generally need to be kept above freezing (32F), while indoor temperatures averaging 65F are excellent.

Best wishes with your new houseplants!

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