Houseplants color up interior during cold months

The holidays are over, and many gardeners are looking to add some color to the home to brighten up the heart of winter. There are many wonderful winter houseplants that help fulfill this winter dream.

Blooming houseplants are wonderful additions to the home to brighten and warm our homes as the snow piles up outside and winter’s cold settles in.

Most are easy to care for, as long as they are provided a reliable light source and watered properly.

Blooming plants, in general, require a bit more light and fairly consistent moisture when compared to foliage plants that are a bit more tolerant of diverse conditions.

After the holiday season, many gardeners force indoor bulbs such as paper whites and Amaryllis, often received as gifts. These are easy to grow and nearly flawless.

So easy, in fact, are amaryllis bulbs that a new trend in this beautiful bloomer is wax coated bulbs that need no care whatsoever. This includes watering. The bulb encased in a colorful wax coating has everything it needs to grow and bloom inside the home. Simply place in a bright sunny location and let Mother Nature do the rest.

Indoor azaleas are another beautiful bloomer that lasts throughout most of the winter season. These small, woody shrubs are available in pink, red, lavender and white. These are different than our outdoor, perennial azalea shrubs and are not hardy over winter outdoors.

Indoor azalea shrubs are easy to take care for, provided they are not allowed to dry out. Keep moisture levels consistent — moist, but not wet — as well as medium to high light. Fertilize with Miracid or other acidic plant fertilizer according to the package directions.

Anthuriums, sometimes known as flamingo plants, are another wonderful source of indoor color to brighten the home during the winter season. Their beautiful, spathe-like blooms come in a variety of colors such as white, pink, red and purple.

Anthuriums are tolerant of lower light levels and can be allowed to go quite dry in between deep waterings. Their long-lasting flowers may bloom for weeks, and new flower buds are constantly emerging from below.

Many varieties of succulents provide stunning blooms in the indoor garden during the winter season. Kalanchoe is especially attractive with clusters of colorful blooms that adorn these small to medium-sized plants for many weeks over their long bloom season.

These plants bloom in many colors, such as yellow, orange, pink, red, white, coral and others. Because these are succulents, be careful not to overwater and be sure to provide plenty of bright light.

Of course, no indoor garden should be without colorful, ornate and elegant blooming orchids throughout the year. Especially in winter, many orchids put on a fantastic display. They come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Some orchids are easier to care for than others, so be sure to purchase from a reputable dealer and ask plenty of questions.

African violets are another traditional indoor gardening favorite for the winter season. While they have a reputation of being touchy, they are quite easy to grow, especially under growing lights, provided they are not allowed to dry out. Plant in a violet-specific potting mix and fertilize regularly.

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