As we head into winter you might want to consider adding some tropical houseplants to your home. Our homes are primed for these plants because they are climate-controlled and the conditions are similar to their natural habitat. There are some challenges with having tropical houseplants including humidity and water. In the winter the air tends to be dry, so put your plants on a tray of pebbles filled with water. This creates humidity around your plant and prevents the plant's roots from rotting. Additionally, you can group your plants together to concentrate humidity as water from the plants leaves evaporates.
To add some tropics to your home, try one of our eight favorite houseplants:
Palm trees will certainly add a touch of the tropics to your home or office. There are many varieties of palm trees to select from and they typically enjoy being in a bright room. Areca palm, also called butterfly palm, is a slow-growing tree with feathery leaves and is one of our favorites. Areca palms will fill up an empty corner of your room. Besides a bright location make sure you water the plant when the top inch or two of the soil is dry. Make sure the container you use has drainage holes so the plant is not sitting in water. A problem you might encounter with indoor palm plants is the leaf tips turning brown. This can be due to the air being too dry or the plant is not being watered enough. This also might occur if the plant is fertilized too much.
This popular houseplant is related to the pineapple. It is native to the tropics and while it looks exotic it is not too difficult to grow. It requires bright light but not direct sunlight. This mirrors the tropical environment that it thrives in as it grows under the canopy of other plants. They should be allowed to dry out between watering and not sit in standing water or soggy soil. They don’t need to be fertilized and can stay in the same pot for up to 5 years. Although they are a tropical plant they can survive temperatures as low as 40 degrees. For additional information on growing Bromeliad’s make sure you read this blog post.
Dracaenas are one of the most popular indoor houseplants and are easy to grow. There are 40 different species of this plant. When the plants are young they are small and full making them ideal for tabletops or a desk. When the plant gets older, they develop a woody stem that bears a resemblance to a tree. As they mature, they can even grow up to 5 to 6 feet tall. The plant has dramatic foliage with beautiful color patterns. It can also help improve air quality. This plant needs indirect sunlight; never place it in direct sunlight. The plant is drought tolerant, so it does not need to be watered as much as other houseplants. Keep them hydrated by misting the leaves with water and keeping the soil lightly misted (never soggy). Make sure the pot has good drainage. Always allow the top of the soil to dry out before watering. Do not overwater, as it may cause root rot. If you find your plant with drooping or yellowing leaves this could mean the plant is being over-watered. These plants are sensitive to fluoride, so use purified water. Dracaena will shed its leaves in order to grow new ones. Leaves with dark brown and dead areas with yellow edges may indicate fluoride toxicity. A final little bit of information on Dracaenas; the “Good Luck Bamboo” plant is actually a small type of Dracaena growing in water.
The peace lily is also known as Spathiphyllum. This pretty plant has dark green leaves and a white calla lily-like flower that blooms on top of a tall stem. The plant looks good in many different types of home environments. It can be showcased on the floor or be put on a table. The plant filters indoor pollutants, so it is a great plant for the bedroom. While the plant does well in low-light environments it prefers high-light locations. If you put the plant in low-light it will not bloom. Do not put it in direct sunlight. When you water your peace lily make sure to keep the soil moist but not wet or soggy. If the plant wilts it could be because it is too dry. The plant will come back quickly after getting moisture. If the leaf edges turn brown, the plant needs humidity. Our solutions above should help with this situation. Fertilize the plant once or twice a year. If you want more growth or better blooms, fertilize the plant more often.
Did you know that there are more species of Orchid on the planet than there are species of birds and mammals combined! As you might suspect Orchids are found in the tropics of Asia, South and Central America but there are even Orchids that grow above the Arctic Circle. They are perennial plants in their native habitats but in the United States, they are usually grown as a houseplant. While their impressive blooms make them appear to be exotic, they are relatively simple to maintain if you understand the conditions that they require. For more detailed information on growing Orchids please check out the following article.
Philodendron is the first plant I ever purchased and grew. I was a child and it was very easy to take care of and grow. It is one of the most common houseplants. There are numerous varieties of this plant and it comes in many different sizes and shapes. This plant has heart-leaf vines, which can be grown in hanging baskets and also a larger-leaf shrub. Philodendron can be grown under different conditions but does best in medium to bright light. The plant is tough and will be alright if you forget to water it every so often. When the soil appears dry water the plant. Do not overwater the plant. The plant does not need to be fertilized but you can fertilize it in the spring or summer, once or twice a year.
Prayer Plant is an easy to grow houseplant that does best in indirect sunlight but can tolerate low light conditions. It is indigenous to Central and South America and gets its name from its leaves which often roll up at night. They prefer moist soil except during the winter when the soil should be allowed to dry out between watering. It prefers humid conditions such as you might find in your bathroom. It can be repotted in the spring and cuttings can be rooted in water or by putting the cutting in soil.
The snake plant is an easy to care for houseplant and is also known as Sansevieria or mother-in-law tongue. It tolerates most growing conditions including low light. There is a joke that it thrives on neglect. There are many varieties of snake plants that are known for their stiff, upright sword-like leaves with edges of gray, silver, or gold. The look of the snake plant makes it a perfect selection for use in modern and contemporary interior designs. Snake plants do not require fertilizer but if you do fertilize them in the spring and summer they will grow more. Since they are a slow-growing plant, they do not require pruning. Water the plant when the top inch or two of soil is dry.
If you have a favorite tropic houseplant, please share it with us!