I caught the houseplant fever when I was 24 years old. I was raised by a plant-loving mother, but I did my best to rebel against anything to do with horticulture. I even rotated through (and killed) a few gifted African violets before I came to my senses.
Now, I love collecting houseplants—particularly ones that bloom. Of course, there are the usual suspects, like those African violets, but I prefer to acquire the more unique varieties of flowering flora in my home.
There are so many different varieties of begonias that it’s almost impossible to find one that you don’t like. Some cultivars have foliage as beautiful as the blooms, and if you’re looking for something really different, try Rex China Curl, Harmony’s Red Robin, or Connie Boswell varieties. Martha Stewart even has her own begonia hybrid.
Start looking and you will be able to find varieties that bloom in many different shades of reds, pinks, creams, and yellows. Different begonias prefer different care, so be sure to do your research before purchasing.
My Black Jewel orchid is one of my favorite houseplants. It easily adapts to its environment and produces dainty white blooms that appear on a spike. It’s a terrestrial orchid, so it grows in potting soil.
I assumed it would be finicky, because it’s considered a rare find, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it bouncing back quickly from under-watering. It’s a good plant to use in hanging baskets or on a sill, as it will drape over the edge of the pot. The flowering cycle begins and continues through the winter.
Lipstick plants are fairly simple to care for—with a dynamite payoff. The lipstick plant cascades over the lip of its pot and can grow meters long in the right conditions. Give it bright, indirect light and weekly watering. They can handle under-watering but will quickly deteriorate if overwatered on a regular basis. They also favor humidity, so mist regularly. And if you want your plant to bloom with more vigor, don’t replant it until you absolutely need to—lipstick plants thrive when root-bound.
One of my favorite hoyas was one I received as a cutting. I rooted it in water and then planted it directly in soil. They’re easy-peasy plants that are frequently passed down through generations. They have waxy, succulent-like leaves and unique flowers with a seductive scent. Hoyas are similar to lipstick plants: they enjoy being root-bound and love humidity. But do not over-water!
There are many varieties out there, my favorite being the TriColor.
Gardenias are one of my dream houseplants—I can’t wait to own one. They smell delicious and bring height to an empty corner. Yes, they have the reputation of being difficult to grow, but as with most houseplants, follow a few rules and you should be just fine.
Gardenias need at least four hours of bright sunlight a day in order to produce blooms. Keep the soil moist to the touch, but don’t let the roots sit in water. If there’s extra water in the catch tray, try emptying it with a kitchen baster. Mist daily. If it gets too cold at night, the leaves will turn yellow and the plant will drop its buds.