How to Brighten Your Home with Houseplants that Bloom

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By Melinda Myers

Brighten your indoor décor with plants that bloom. Whether you grow traditional favorites, flowering tropical plants or annuals that get moved inside for winter, their colorful flowers are sure to elicit smiles and months of enjoyment. Just provide the right growing conditions and sufficient light, and you will be
enjoying months of indoor color.

You may have enjoyed an initial burst of color from traditional favorites like African violets and orchids but struggled to get them to flower again. Maximize your enjoyment and their colorful floral display by providing supplemental lighting. Plants with colorful flowers benefit from brighter or longer periods of light, especially in winter, than what streams through your windows. Grow lights, which provide bright, full-spectrum illumination, are an ideal solution.

You can find many types of grow lights, including simple hanging lamps, DIY fixtures, and metal stands. These are often relegated to the rec room or basement but might be less welcome in your living room. Consider furniture-style light stands like the Bamboo LED Grow Light Gardens (gardeners.com) that will complement your living spaces. They’re outfitted with special high-output bulbs that are tucked out of sight
and provide light more than twice as bright as that of most standard LEDs. This allows you to grow most flowers, and even some fruits, without needing to raise and lower the lights to accommodate different plant heights.

Once you have your supplemental lighting in place, expand your indoor flowering plant collection with a few tropicals. Here are just four of my favorites.

  1. Flowering maple (Abutilon). Give them bright light and cooler winter temperatures to enjoy their beauty all year long. The solid green or variegated maple-shaped leaves inspired their common name. Plants may be compact and upright or vining, while the flowers may resemble those of hibiscus or dangling lanterns. Select varieties known for year-round flowering.
  2. Chenille plant (Acalypha). Create a focal point with these unique blooms. The long, fuzzy, cascading flowers resemble chenille yarn. They are perfect for a hanging basket, set upon a plant stand or pruned into tree form. This plant needs high humidity and plenty of light to maintain its health and
    year-round beauty indoors.
  3. Shrimp plant (Justica brandegeana). Enjoy its coppery bronze flowers. This long-blooming Mexican native performs best in bright light and high humidity. Use it as a hanging basket, prune into a small tree or set it upon a plant stand where the cascading shrimp-like flowers can be enjoyed.
  4. Lipstick vine (Aeschynanthus). Brighten your fall and winter décor with these vivid red flowers that emerge from dark maroon structures, resembling a tube of lipstick. The glossy green foliage adds needed greenery indoors throughout the year. The more light these plants receive, the better the
    floral display.

Whether you’re growing tropicals or traditional favorites indoors, always check plant tags for specific care instructions. You can also boost your indoor floral display by placing annuals you’re overwintering, such as geraniums and mandevilla, under lights to encourage blooming. Give these plants bright light, water thoroughly as needed, and enjoy the extra color. Prune if necessary, to keep the plants full and compact.
Incorporating flowers into your living space will boost your mood and reduce stress while livening your indoor décor.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is MelindaMyers.com.

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