Flowering Houseplants & How to Care for Them
Flowering houseplants help clean the air in your home, add a touch of green, and add a touch of color. Despite what you might have heard, many flowering houseplants are actually relatively easy to care for. As long as you provide the right conditions when it comes to light, food, water and temperature, your plants will reward you with colorful blooms. Some plants, such as the peace lily, are easier to grow and care for than others, so it can be helpful to start with those types if you’re new to the houseplant game.
Choosing the Right Flowering Houseplant
Flowering houseplants often have similar requirements as non-flowering plants or houseplants grown just for their foliage. The plant that will thrive in your home depends on a number of factors, from how much light your space gets to how much care you’ll be able to give it. If you don’t spend much time at home, you don’t want to pick a plant that needs constant attention.
Along with choosing the right plant for your home and lifestyle, you want to make sure you choose a healthy and well cared for plant. Inspect the plant closely before purchasing it.
Its leaves should be green and intact, without signs of damage or yellowing. Ideally, the plant will have a number of flower buds on it already, so that it will bloom shortly after you take it home. Some of the blooms can be open, but you want to be careful not to choose a plant that’s fully in flower.
Lift the plant and its pot up and take a look at the bottom of the pot. If there are a lot of little roots sticking out of the bottom, it’s best to leave the plant alone, since it’s pot-bound. According to Gardening Know How, pot or root bound plants will wilt easily and tend to have growth problems.
Types of Flowering Houseplants
You don’t have to have a green thumb to get some flowering houseplants to bloom. There are a number of varieties out there that will flower and thrive with little attention from you. In fact, some plants do better with varying degrees of neglect than with a lot of care and attention.
Of course, there are many thousands of flowering houseplants. Here are just a few of the most popular.
The African violet isn’t the same type of violet as you might see growing wild on your lawn. But the plant produces small, bright purple flowers that are very similar in appearances to traditional violets.
It can be a fussy plant to grow indoors, since it has specific water and temperature needs. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, most varieties of African Violet prefer temperatures over 65 degrees Fahrenheit and soil that’s consistently moist.
The good news about African violets is that you don’t need a lot of light to get them to bloom. You might be able to get the plant to bloom in low-light conditions, although medium or somewhat filtered light is ideal. If the plant produces dark green, very thin leaves, that’s a sign that it’s not getting an adequate amount of light.
Wandering Jews are trailing plants that produce bright purple flowers. The plants do best in brightly lit areas. The more light they get, the brighter the purple of their flowers, as the Today show points out.
For best results, grow a Wandering Jew plant on a south facing or west facing window sill. Since the plant produces long vines, if you can hang it up in a window, all the better, as it will be able to cascade down the sides of the hanging planter.
The plant prefers temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can let the soil dry out a bit between waterings, to keep its roots from becoming waterlogged.
The video above from Josh’s Frogs shows you a few basics of caring for the Wandering Jew plant, including how to propagate it from cuttings. The plant’s long vines make it an easy plant to divide and regrow.
The shrimp plant gets its name because its reddish-pink flowers sort of look like shrimp. The plant can be grown outdoors in warmer areas, but is often grown as a houseplant in more temperate or colder regions. According to this video from ExpertVillage, it has few insect or disease problems, making it a relatively easy plant to grow.
One thing shrimp plants need is bright light, especially when in bloom. If you can hang or put them in front of a south-facing window, you’ll get the best results.
Orchids have a reputation for being tricky to grow, but according to the American Orchid Society, that reputation is largely undeserved. Once you know what your orchid needs, caring for it becomes simple.
The plants are epiphytic, meaning that they do not grow in soil. In nature, you’ll find orchids clinging to the trunks of trees. They get the food and water they need from the air around them.
If you plant the roots of an orchid in soil, you’ll end up with an unhappy plant. Orchids don’t want soil and they are likely to rot and suffer if their roots are buried in it.
Orchids are grouped into three categories, based on their temperatures needs. Some need nighttime temperatures around 50 degrees, other need nighttime temperatures around 60 degrees and the third group need nighttime temperatures to stay above 65 degrees. Putting the plants in a spot where the temperature fluctuates by about 10 degrees from the day to the night will encourage them to bloom.
If orchids still sound too difficult to grow, you might want to try the peace lily. It’s one of the easiest flowering houseplants to grow. It’s also fairly easy to find at garden centers and nurseries.
The plant produces white flowers, usually in the summer. With the right care, it can keep blooming throughout the year. Depending on the type of peace lily you grow, its foliage can grow anywhere from 12 inches to 6 feet high.
The peace lily will produce flowers in low light conditions, but is more likely to produce larger flowers when there is more light available. Although it does appreciate fairly consistent soil moisture, it’s better to err on the side of underwatering the peace lily, letting it dry out a bit between waterings, rather than over watering it.
Flowering Houseplants Needs
Like all plants, flowering houseplants need water, food and light to survive. As you saw from the description of a variety of plants above, how much water, food and light each plant needs can vary considerably.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to go easy on the watering. Always test the soil before you water a plant to make sure it’s dry.
Although your plants need food, it’s easy to overfeed them too. Usually, it’s best to feed them only during their active growing period. If plant is dormant, such as during the winter, too much food can do more harm than good.
If you’re looking for more specific information on caring for flowering houseplants, we have a lot more to say on the subject. Take a look at the sidebar, where you’ll find plenty of articles on specific plants and how to care for them.
And to get you inspired before reading more, here’s a fun guide to garden flower colors by Networx.