The Top 5 Winter Houseplants To Grow This Year

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There’s nothing better than enjoying some spring color during the dark, cold days of winter. It’s easy to bring spring’s colors indoors with a few low-maintenance houseplants. Here are the top 5 winter houseplants that are easy to grow, add pops of colorful blossoms indoors during the winter and acclimate outdoors in a wide range of climates.

Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus is native to the tropical rain forests of the Organ Mountains in southeast Brazil. It is an epiphyte that grows on rocks and trees in the cloud forests of the higher elevations. The plant produces unique flowers in red, purple, orange, pink and cream that attract hummingbirds.

Christmas cactus make long-lived, easy to grow presents. Here are some easy care tips:

  • Place in indirect or filtered sunlight.
  • Keep in a location that has cooler temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer for blooming houseplants when the plant is not budding or flowering.
  • Water thoroughly and let dry out between waterings.
  • Prune after the plant has finished flowering by removing a section or two from each stem.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

 

Tulips

Tulips are native to a large area encompassing southern Europe, North Africa and China. The Dutch originally found the flower in the Ottoman Empire and brought it to Europe in the 16th century. The tulip quickly became a luxury item and status symbol.

Tulips make an unusual houseplant that adds color to any room. Tulips come in a rainbow of colors. They can grow as one-colored and multi-colored, single bloom and double bloom and/or smooth petals and frilly petals. Here are a few steps to growing tulips indoors:

  • Start four months before the desired bloom time and purchase large, firm bulbs.
  • Plant a collection of tulip bulbs in a shallow and wide pot.
  • Water thoroughly and let drain.
  • Place in the dark at a temperature between 40 and 45 degrees F.
  • Keep cool for 10 to 12 weeks.
  • When the shoots are two inches tall, gradually move the plant to a sunny location.
  • Fertilize weekly after the first blooms appear using a half-strength solution of houseplant fertilizer.

Hyacinths

Hyacinths are native to the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and the Middle East. The bulbs were first cultivated in Austria in the 1500s, and quickly became a favorite of rich flower collectors. Hyacinths produce a spike of fragrant flowers that come in red, blue, white, orange, pink, purple and yellow.

Hyacinths can be forced to flower indoors with the same method used to force tulips to flower. Hyacinths can also be grown in a bulb vase. When the flowers have finished blooming, the flowering spike should be removed and the plant moved outdoors. By planting outdoors, the hyacinth will bloom again the following year. For indoor flowers, start with new bulbs each year.

Cyclamens

Cyclamen are native to Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The plants live in woodland areas, rocky places and alpine meadows. Cyclamen was the favorite plant for the Christmas season in Victorian England. The clusters of pink, purple, salmon, fuchsia, mauve, red and white petals can be single, double or ruffled. The flowers sit above heart shaped silver and green leaves.

The recommended variety of cyclamen to grow indoors is the Florist’s cyclamen or Persian cyclamen. Here are a few tips to keep cyclamen healthy:

  • Place in bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Keep in a cool location between 50 and 65 degrees F.
  • Use a pebble tray to provide humidity.
  • Soak the pot in a tray of water and let dry before watering again.
  • Fertilize with a half strength solution of a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month, except when the plant is dormant.

Azaleas

Azaleas are native to Europe, Asia and North America. Most of the azalea cultivars originated from Buddhist monks in Asia. The azalea is considered the royalty of the garden. Flowers come in pink white, peach, lavender and red.

As with other tree and shrub type houseplants, azaleas can be shaped into topiary creations and the plants make an easy bonsai project. Azaleas can be kept indoors for many years by following a few simple care tips:

  • Place in indirect, bright sunlight.
  • Keep in a cool location with a temperature between 50 and 65 degrees F.
  • Water frequently so that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.
  • To encourage more blooms, remove spent flowers and allow the plant to become slightly pot-bound.
  • Fertilize every month from February to October with a fertilizer for acid-loving plants.

These top 5 winter houseplants are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to decorating a home with warm, rich flowering plants. When selecting houseplants, do a little research to ensure that the plants will survive in the intended growing conditions and that it will receive the needed care. Winter flowering houseplants are a rainbow over a winter white landscape.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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