With care in selecting your house plants you can have an indoor garden with constant bloom. Locating your plants in the right window, with the right amount of sunlight, results in a riot of color each month of the year. Most flowring plants adapt well to an eastern or southern exporsure. Flowering plants requre more light than foliage plants.
Some plants -- crown of thorns, primroses, shrimp plant, lantana, and browellia -- begin flowering in the fall and continue into the spring. These five plants require a modest amount of water, sandy garden loan, and a sunny location.
CRown of thorns requires a fall rest in a shady spot with little water. This enables this succulent to gain vigor for another nine months of flowers that change from pale green to apricot, deep pink, and finally carmine.
Primroses produce clusters of bloom froma 6-inch stem rising from the heart of the plant. Sky-blue, rose, red, magenta, purple, or white clusters of flowers can brighten your entire year if you remove faded blossoms. Never let the roots of the plant dry out and locate the primrose in a part of the window that provides some shade.
Shrimp plant benefits from a summer in the garden. Prune it radically when you pot it for indoors in Septemer. This plant can stand to be soaked with water and allowed to dry out before watering again.
Coming from Mexico and brazil, this is a warm-weather plant and likes a warm, sunny location. It will grow quickly out of hand unless you keep pruning it. The 6-inch cuttings which you trim off the shrimp plant can be rooted in water or damp sand to give you new plants.
Delicate white flowers grow from pink shrimplike bracts from November to April. It is a conversation piece in your window garden.
Lantana spreads and trails, making it an ideal hanging basket plant. The whole plant appars to be lacy sheets of color. Prune off any straggly stems to keep the plant in bloom all winter. Like the shrimp plant, lanta can stand a good soaking, allowed to dry out, and then be watered again.
Because it trials, lantana requries plenty of room in a sunny window. In the spring make 6-inch cuttings to start new plants for the next winter. Start the cuttings in semishade and pinch off any buds that appear before the fall blooming season.
Browellia produces its starry-blue flowers from fall to spring. Each flower is an inch in diameter and the plant reaches about 15 inches in heights. This annual blooms only one season and must discarded, but it is readily grown from seed.
Watch for white fly if the air in your house is very dry. Spray with insecticide at the first sign of infestation. Like lantana and shrimp plant, browellia can be soaked, allowed to dry out, and then watered again.
If you have two of each of the plants mentioned above you will have 10 constantly flowering plants to brighten your indoor garden. But there are many others which are equally interesting and easily kept. Here are five more: Bougainvillea, orchid cactus, chinelle plant, flowering maple, and gardenia.
Bougainvillea, a climber by nature, should be pruned to pot size. By cutting the stem back as soon as the flowers fade, this flame-red bloomer can be kept perpetually loaded with flowers.
It needs some sum but cannot thrive in a window that is too hot and dry. The temperature must not rise above 70 degrees. Keep the plant moderately wet and some distance from the window glass which may get too hot.
A cactus with no fierce thorns, the orchid cactus has a blossom like that of a water lily. It will grow huge if permitted but it may be pruned to fit any space.
The orange, pink, red, or white blossoms are many-petaled with feathery stamens and a very sweet fragrance.
Like other cacti, it should be kept rather dry except the buds appear.
Although a mature plant seldom has more than a half dozen blossoms at one time, these are showy enough to merit a place in your indoor garden. If you choose to allow your plant to grow very large you will want to support it with stakes or rods.
For a trim, upright plant with showy blossoms, try the chenille plant. Its foot-long scarlet tassles trail down from beneath the top leaves, making it a real curiosity and an eye catcher. It likes to be kept moist and thrives if misted daily. Every spring prune the top and roots and repot in fresh soil to prevent it from growing leggy.
Flowering maple resembles a tiny maple tree in your window. Keep it pruned to 18 inches and withhold plant food or you will have more foliage than flowers. Keep the plant moist but don't let it get "wet feet." This old-time plant gives bell- shaped flowers in pink, red, yellow, apricot, or white. Keep trimming the branch tips for a continuous supply of flowers which resemble hoop skirts.
Everyone loves a gardenia. This plant presents a challenge since the soil must never dry out and the leaves must be misted heavily every day. Full sun in winter, shade in summer, and high humidity will result in flowers for corsages in the winter.
The gardenia should be repotted in the spring, sinking the container into a shady spot in the garden. Nip off any buds that form in the summer.
During the winter months submerge the pot to the rim in a pail of water until the topsoil feels damp. Special care of your gardenia will pay off in extra flowers. If the buds tend to drop off in winter, the air is too dry. Try misting the plant more frequently.
There are many exciting house plants that blossom freely. A little planning can lead to a very successful indoor garden, no matter what exposure you have.
If you have a collection of colored-glass containers, you can use these to grow your flowers. These containers double the fun of growing pretty plants if you use them as gifts.
Most house plants that bloom require sunlight but do not despair if your only window has a northern exposure. You can provide light by using fluorescent grow bulbs over your plants. A simple and effective way to provide light is to use a 100-watt light bulb in a lamp about six feet from the plants. This is usually enough to induce bloom.
If you find the misting and special care too laborious, you may turn to colorful foliage plants that do not require special resting periods and extra humidity.
When you establish your window garden, do not be discouraged if some of the plants seem to suffer slightly. Check for insects and the right amount of water but consider that the plant needs time to adjust a new conditions.