The Q&A Archives: indoor plants

Question: Can you suggest some durable, low maintenance, flowering indoor plants.

Answer: Here are a few suggestions:
Bromeliads; Vriesia, Cryptanthus, Billbergia, Aechmea and Neoreglia are just a few of the Latin names that belong to this family of plants. The pineapple, Ananas comosus, is a bromeliad. Bromeliads make wonderful indoor plants for bright to
medium light areas. Their flowers can last for many weeks. Pot in a well drained, light potting mix containing bark or coarse peat. Keep the reservoir at the base of the leaves filled with water, but allow the soil mix to stay just slightly moist. Avoid overwatering and change the water in the reservoir weekly.

Achimenes; Common names for this member of the Gesneriad family include Hot Water Plant or Cupid's Bower. Achimenes bloom from spring to early summer and through the fall. After they bloom, give them reduced light and water so tops will dieback to the ground. Store dormant rhizomes at 60oF over the winter (can be left in pots).
In spring, start to grow and/or propagate by dividing tiny rhizomes and gradually
increasing water and light. During growing season, give care similar to that for African Violets. Display as you would an African violet.

Glory Bower; Clerodendrum thomsoniae is known for its beautiful displays of creamy white, bell-shaped calyxes with crimson flowers at the tips. Best grown in a bright sunny window during the growing months (March-September). Prefers soil that is well drained and kept barely moist. Glory Bower does best with temperatures around
65? F with average humidity. Make sure it has a support to climb as it grows.
Can be used as a floor plant with support or as a hanging basket.

Flowering Maple; Abutilon species are known for their trailing and bushy habit, with maple-shaped leaves; some varieties have yellow and green variegated foliage. Beautiful flowers, some shaped like a single or double hollyhock blossoms. Requires bright light and be sure to keep the soil barely moist but not soggy. Prefers ample
humidity. Cool night temperatures are preferred (55-60? F.) Sink pot in outdoor containers during the warm growing season for continued bloom. Great for use as an accent plant.

Kaffir Lily; Clivia miniata produces long, leather-like leaves with beautiful, showy orange-red flowers, followed by ornamental red berries. Propagated by seed or
division. Grow outdoors in the summer in the light shade; water and fertilize regularly. Bring the plant in the first of September and let it rest in a cool (45-55? F.) area until mid-January. Water very little. Then move into a sunny, warm
location (65? F.). Begin watering and fertilizing regularly. A yellow orm, 'Aurea', is harder to find but worth the trouble. Best used as an accent plant on a table, larger plants on the floor.

Cape Primrose; Streptocarpus sp., a member of the gesneriad family, produces beautiful flowers in pinks, whites, purples and blues. Cape primrose grows best in an East or West window that filters the hot sun. Keep soil barely moist and provide average humidity. Temperatures should be between 55-70? F. Prefers a loose organic potting soil. Check each spring for repotting needs. Culture is similar to African violets, except Streptocarpus can tolerate cooler temperatures. Remove spent flowers and stalks to keep the plant from going to seed. Display as you would an African Violet.

Flame-of-the-Woods; Ixora coccinea is an evergreen shrub that produces dense clusters of tubular flowers with some varieties being scented. Colors of white, orange, yellow and salmon are available. For best growth, temperatures between 65-
75? F. in an East-West exposure are preferred. Needs average humidity and keep the
soil moist. Avoid drafts. Dwarf form also available. Small plants suitable for tabletop, larger specimens make good floor plants.

Flame Violet; Episcia species. Members of this genus produce trailing tropical plants with brilliant foliage and colorful flowers. Grows best in an East-West exposure with temperatures between 65-70?F. Episcia thrive on high humidity; be sure to keep soil barely moist. Other cultural requirements are similar to
African violets. Display as you would a potted African violet.

Gardenia; It's hard to deny that the fragrance of gardenia is intoxicating, perhaps too much so for some. The fact remains, for most people, it can be extremely difficult to get this plant to rebloom. Here are the rules: It requires plenty of
light and humidity. Night temperature must be 62-65? F for the plant to initiate
buds. Daytime temperatures should be 70-75? F. Night temperatures above 65? F increases the possibility of bud drop. Avoid drafts! Keep your gardenia happy by providing a slightly acid soil.

Best wishes with your new houseplants!

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