Avid gardeners love being outside, getting their hands in the soil and watching young seedlings sprout to maturity. For many of us however, the season is too short or we live in apartments and condos where outdoor gardening space is limited. Indoor house plants are the next best thing. They bring beauty, fragrance and color indoors and will enhance your home with year round enjoyment.
One of the problems that many house plants face are low light, cool-ish temperatures, and, perhaps worst of all, low humidity. There are however several tropical house plants that that do very well in these rigid conditions and here are 10 most popular of them.
1- Dracaena Corn Plant
Like its namesake, this is an easy to grow and maintain tropical house plant that produces a main stem with long green leaves. The stems can grow to over four feet tall and can occasionally produce a small white flower at the top. They don’t need very much light or water and propagate easily if you want.
2- The Dragon Tree
This is one of the most popular house plants of a tropical nature to grow. They grow very slowly, taking about 10 years to reach full maturity height of five feet, but along the way they have a beautiful lush appearance with long thin leaves. These are such low maintenance plants that they can be left untouched for weeks with no effect. Direct sunlight can be harmful to the leaves, so the Dragon Tree is a great low light house plant.
3- Parlor Palm
If you have never grown house plants before, the Parlor Palm is a good one to start with. They thrive under low light conditions and require very little water. Just keep the soil a bit moist and with patience, the plant will mature to about three feet tall.
Here are some most common house plants of a more tropical variety that prefer indirect sunlight:
4- Jade Plant
Unlike the plants mentioned above, the Jade Plant requires lots of light, plenty of water at the right time, and produces thick oval shaped leaves. Pick a location in the house that provides a few hours of sunlight per day. When it comes to watering, it is a good idea to allow the soil to become fairly dry before giving the Jade a good drink. Drainage is important however, since water sitting around the roots can lead to rot. Lastly, a dose of weak fertilizer a couple of times per month will pay nice dividends. If conditions are right, some Jade plants will produce small white flowers in the winter.
5- African Violet
This is a wonderful tropical house plant to grow because it actually produces very colorful flowers that can be maintained for most of the year. There are many varieties of the African Violet, but their care is all the same. They thrive in bright light, but be careful to limit too much direct sunlight which can damage the leaves. Like the Jade Plant, watering as needed is good, but don’t allow accumulation at the bottom. Healthy African Violets are relatively small house plants that will mature to about 12 inches in diameter, which is a very manageable size.
6- Aloe Vera
Well known for various health benefits especially to clean indoor air, Aloe Veras are very easy to grow and maintain as house plants. Bright conditions are good, but like many other house plants, they should not be given too much direct sunlight. The Aloe Vera is a succulent which means that its leaves retain a lot of water, similar to cactus plants. They require very little watering, especially in winter, but just check the soil occasionally to make sure it remains moist.
7- Spider Plant
This could possibly be the most common of all tropical house plants, which may be due to the minimal care required to keep them flourishing. Keep them in a well lit location with no direct sunlight and provide plenty of water except in winter. Planted in a good potting mix, they really don’t need any fertilizer and they’ll produce attractive green leaves with a white stripe down the middle. The only other maintenance is removing the browning leaves as they die off so that new growth can continue.
Finally, here are three more house plants of a more tropical variety:
8- Bird of Paradise
Tolerant of some direct indoor sunlight, but requiring continuous moisture and high humidity, the Bird of Paradise is super colorful and an attractive addition to any home. While there are several varieties, make sure you grow what is called the “S. retinae”…the only one suitable for growing indoors. As with many tropical plants, you must have patience. It takes at least three years before you will see your first flowers and requires regular fertilizing.
These are a bit more difficult to grow than most tropical house plants, but well worth the effort. Don’t let the temperature drop below 60 F. and make sure the soil is consistently moist. Beautiful heart shaped pink flowers can bloom throughout most of the year. Be prepared to re-pot every year or two.
Popular around the world, the hardest thing about growing Orchids is selecting the variety you want…there are hundreds of them in a wide array of colors! When getting into orchids, it is a good rule if thumb to try to replicate their natural environment. They are, by nature, a climbing plant so provide them with good support. They like a good amount of light, high humidity and warm temperature of at least 60 F. Like the Jade plant mentioned above, it is a good practice to let the plants get fairly dry before offering them good drink. If you buy orchids from the store, wait until AFTER the first bloom and then go ahead and re-pot the whole plant.
There are hundreds of varieties of tropical house plants worth considering, so do a little research before you begin. Along with the ones mentioned above, think about English Ivy, Rubber Tree, Peace Lily, Snake Plants, Ficus, Shamrock Plants, Areca Palm, Fiddle Leaf Figs and so many more.
Bring a little bit of mother nature into your house. A selection of long lasting easy to grow house plants makes an attractive addition to any home. It’s the next best thing to being out in the garden itself!