Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter Flowering Houseplants

I admit to having the blahs in the wintertime. Shorter days, the passing of the holidays, slower times at work and the dull colors of my outdoor garden all contribute to my mood. But, I've learned one sure way to cope. Each morning, I stroll through the greenhouse and take in the sights, scents and beauty of houseplants. It's my own tropical paradise. Plant parenthood beckons as I choose a few flowering favorites to brighten up the house. Take a look.

African Violet

African violets may be "grandma" plants, but they are becoming popular to indoor gardeners who need a sure thing. Violets like bright light, 70 degree temperature, and do well if watered when their soil surface becomes dry. Keep them fresh by plucking old flowers off as they fade. Violets are inexpensive and available year round.

Anthurium

Anthuriums are underutilized. They flower in moderate light most of the year. Flowers range from bright white to dark red. Anthuriums are workhorses when it comes to removing toxins from indoor air; they are considered one of the best clean air machines. Bright, heart-shaped leaves and flowers make them a natural for Valentines Day.

Rex Begonias

Begonias come in all sorts of forms and color. Rex begonias are noteworthy not so much for their diminutive blooms, but for their gorgeous patterned leaves. Growers have rediscovered this plant and made it available for indoor gardeners everywhere.

Bromeliad


Guzmania flower

Bromeliads are an incredibly diverse family of plants. We love the Guzmania varieties this time of year, for their long strap leaves and brightly colored bracts. The color lasts a long time, and as the bract/flower fades, new little plant pups form at the base of the plant. Remove them and replant for beautiful color next year.

Gardenia bloom

Gardenias often flower in the winter. And, while the flower is beautiful, it is the flower's fragrance that sets this plant above the rest. Gardenias love high humidity, a day/night temperature difference of 10 degrees and consistent bright light. Not the easiest plant to grow, gardenias more than make up for gardener's efforts by their flowers' beauty and aroma.

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoes are another diverse family of plants. You'll find various succulents in our cacti and succulent area year round, but the flowering beauties are usually available in the winter. Blooming red, pink, yellow and white, the flowers have an almost neon appearance. I would call kalanchoes a temporary houseplant. Don't feel bad if you compost it at the end of its long blooming cycle. Its OK to let go.

Primrose

Primroses are available in many greenhouses this time of year. They are perennial plants that are forced for earlier season color. Once they have finished blooming and temperatures outside have warmed, plant primroses in a semi-shaded area where they will often come back year after year in the garden. Primroses bloom in pink, red, yellow, white and purple. They are perfect to lift our collective gardening spirits in the winter.

Streptocarpus

Streptocarpus may sound like a disease, but are, in fact, another delightful winter bloomer. Like African Violets, they thrive with bright light in average room temperature homes. There are many colors of blooms available in our greenhouse this time of year



If you need a lift, I promise, plants are just the thing. Stop in and see us.