Colorful Indoor Plants
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Paul James shares his expert advice on plants you can easily grow indoors, such as bromeliads and African violets.

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Gardening with the yard with Paul James All sorts of flowering plants can be grown indoors. And most require no more care than you give more familiar tropical houseplants. The type grown primarily for their fanciful foliage and perhaps the easiest to grow of all are the “Bromeliads”. These beauties have been grown indoors since the 16th century and it’s easy to see why. Now very often the most colorful portion of the plant is an actually a flower, but, a type of leaf known as a brat. However, many bromeliads do produce gorgeous flowers. Bright light from the Southern exposure is best for most bromeliads but if the colors begin to fade, you will notice any leaf burns simply reduce the amount of weight. Water requirements for Bromeliads vary enormously. Some preferred to be very really dry like cacti while others should be kept constantly moist. In general however if the leaves form a cup, water should be kept in the cup at all times. The potting medium can be watered as well. Apathetic Bromeliads such as the “Tillandsia” require only daily misting. This next batch of beauties hails from Africa. —are succulents that produce small and colorful clusters of flowers and feature leaves that maybe scallop the worst move. They’re fairly easy to grow indoors provided they receive bright and direct light. Couple wood worms and sunny conditions in a potted and a sandy soil that’s allowed to dry well between watering. Another African beauty is of course the African violet. And which is probably the most popular indoor flowering plant in the world. The two things that are specially interesting about African violet, for one, it’s not actually a violet at all then for another, it’s a member of the genus saintpaulia. But what makes and African violet so popular, in addition to their beauty is they’re so easy to grow and incredibly, they don’t even require any light to flower. Just make sure you start out with a special African violet potting mix. And whatever you do, under any circumstance, don’t over water. When you do water, use only room temperature water and try to avoid getting any of them on the leaves which can cause on sight spots. Another interesting thing about African violets is they don’t like guest. Now by that I mean the even the slightest presence of cooking guest. Say from a stove or oven, well actually cause the flowers to drop. Of course this maybe safe with me because I’m totally electric. Next step on the hit list is this Oxalis or Shamrock plant. These two are very popular being said to bring good luck which is whether sometimes also known as “Lucky Plants”. Oxalis is fairly easy to grow because it’s fairly taller in regular household temperatures. However it does need bright perhaps even direct light. A good all purpose potting soil and constant moisture. I’ve mentioned before how easy Orchids are to grow indoors. And this butterfly orchid is no exception. Now orchids do require a special orchid potting mix which you can probably pick up at your favorite nursery. They also need strong but indirect light and temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees which is what you find in most homes. When watering orchids, say once a week or so. Place a saucer into the pot then water away. Allow time for the water to drain from the pot into the saucer then discard the water in the saucer. You know, orchids were once considered flowers only for the aristocracy that is rich folks. And they are pretty pricy. But if you’re on a budget you can always pick up a poor man’s orchid otherwise known as—these babies bloom profusely indoors if you get them what they need most, cool temperatures. They also prefer bright indirect light in an evenly moist soil especially during their flowering phase. Another prolific bloomer that requires essentially the same conditions is the Primrose. A baby plant that looks somewhat similar to an African violet. One of my favorite flowers indoors is the Anthurium. The real trick to growing anthuriums however is humidity which should be maintained at around 80%. For that reason, you should mist the plant at least twice a day or place it your humidifier. And last but far from the least, here’s a popular indoor plant that produces gorgeous Calla Lilly-like blossoms. It’s pentaphyllum also known as East Lilly. This shows stopper grows well in all purpose potting mix with good drainage and even moisture. It prefers warm temperatures but moderate to low light. Unlike the anthurium it should be misted often. Believe me folks that barely scratch the surface in terms of the number of indoor flowering plants that are available these days. But at least I got a chance to show you some of my favorites. And I got the chance to prove a point which is that even in the middle of winter you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of color indoors.