Gardening TipsWhat you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb
Bringing Tropics Into Your Home
You may not get the chance to go away on a tropical get-a-way, but you can certainly bring some of the tropics into your home, by adding a few tropical plants. Tropical plants are a great inexpensive way to add some quick colour and life to a room, either by their exotic blooms or attractive foliage. If you are looking for tropical with colourful foliage, the Croton is probably one of the most colourful. Its waxy, multi coloured leaves come in shades of green, yellow and red. Place it in an area that receives lots of bright light to keep the plant healthy. Another tropical plant with colourful foliage are the various varieties of Dracaena. Dracaena fragrans (corn plant) has large strapping leaves that have a lighter green centre. Dracaena marginata also known as the rainbow plant or Dracaena warneckii is a grey-green variety with white stripes along its margins or for lime green leaves, the Dracaena ‘Limelight’ will brighten up any room. Dracaenas are easy to grow as they will tolerate lower light and humidity as well as the occasional missed watering. Snake Plant is an easy to grow plant in low light areas that has tough upright growing sword-like leaves that are dark green and marked with a pattern. Other tropical plants with colourful foliage include Calathea, Maranta or Prayer Plant, Pink polka dot plant, and Zebrina pendula.
There are other tropical plants known for their beautiful flowers. One of the more popular ones are Orchids, which are actually not as hard to grow as many may think. Place them in an area such as kitchen or bathroom where there is high humidity and in an east or north facing window or a shaded south or west window. Do not over water orchids. They do not need very much water. Most orchids are killed by overwatering. If cared for properly they will bloom for many weeks.
Anthurium’s (Flamingo Flower) are often associated with Hawaii. The shiny dark green leaves are attractive but it is the flowers and colourful bracts that make this plant so popular. The heart shaped flowers consist of a waxy colourful bract (commonly red or orange) and a coloured spadix or tail which rises from the centre of the bract. The plant is almost always in bloom as the flowers can last up to 8 weeks and the plant continues to produce new flowers when cared for properly. Place them in a well-lit area, with high humidity and keep evenly moist in spring/summer and a little drier over the winter months.
Bromeliads are a group of tropical plants that have long-lasting exotic flowers that will last for months. Plants grows in rosettes of large leaves that arise from the centre cup as do the flowers. Caring for the plant is easy. Keep soil moist and water can also be added to the cup at the base of the leaves. Give them bright indirect light, and high humidity.
All these plants can be enjoyed on their own or be placed in mixed containers, with other indoor plants. For example, mixing ferns with orchids work well as they have the same growing needs, or you can place a few different coloured bromeliads together in a container.