The Q&A Archives: indoor plants/flowers

Question: Hi, I am looking for suggestions for an indoor plant as well as an indoor flower, these are mainly for decoration (going for a contemporary look). Something that blooms every year that we don't have to replant would be great.

Answer: Each flowering houseplant has its own requirements when it comes to blooming, but most will do best with bright indirect light like you'd find near (but not directly in the sun) a west- or south-facing window. Keep plants away from cold drafts and maintain vigorous growth with regular water and fertilizer.

Here are five of the very best:

Chenile plant (Acalypha hispida) produces fuzzy, long, red, cat tail-like blooms that dangle from the ends of the branches. It grows best in bright light and high humidity - great for sunny kitchen window.

Bromeliads are tubular, succulent plants that produce tall spikes of dazzling flowers. There are many types to choose from, some with brightly colored foliage. Grow in bright, indirect light and loose soil kept on the dry side. Some are epiphytes (they grow naturally in the bark of trees) and can be grown on pieces of wood, cork, or dried branches.

African violets (Saintpaulia) are dainty plants with fuzzy leaves and beautiful clusters of white, red, pink and purple blooms. They prefer bright indirect light, even moisture and regular fertilizer.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a cascading plant with dangling succulent branches tipped with bright rosy red blooms around Christmas. It blooms best with bright indirect light and long, cool nights in November. Fertilize and water regularly.

Spathiphyllums are sometimes called peace lilies and are one of the most reliable blooming houseplants. The shiny, dark green leaves are topped by stunning bright white blooms with a strong tropical feel. Some types are small plants, just a foot or two high; others can reach up to 6 feet high. The taller the plant, the bigger the blooms. Flowers best in bright, indirect light but will do well in low light. Water regularly and fertilize often.

When these plants are not in flower, they still have attractive foliage.


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