Flowering houseplants are a colorful, easy way to combat winter’s gloom. We rounded up 10 of our favorite flowering houseplants that you can try growing this winter, like African violets, orchids, and amaryllis. (But if your thumb isn’t exactly green, check out our list of 10 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants.) And if you have pets or children at home that might enjoy snacking on a plant, check with the aspca.org or children’s health websites first, because some houseplants may be toxic to consume.
If you’re new to the care and keeping of houseplants, especially ones that bloom indoors, the secret to coaxing most houseplants to flower inside is to maximize their time in the sun. Observe which corners of your house get the most natural light, then position your plants for success. In general, southern windows are your best bet.
In Tovah Martin’s The Indestructible Houseplant, she recommends starting with a checklist of the growing conditions in your home. Like, how much light your home gets and where it gets the most light. (As mentioned, light is key to getting houseplants to bloom indoors!) Windowsills are the obvious choice for plant placement, but if your windowsills aren’t wide enough for your planters, Tovah has a few suggestions. “I enlist all types of furniture to get my plants close to the sunbeams,” she says in her book. “Plant stands are an obvious option, and they come in all shapes and sizes. I also employ tables of every description. Moist plants can leave marks on woods, so use glazed saucers to prevent leaks and tuck a cork coaster underneath.”
This winter, bring some living color into your home with any one of these flowering houseplants.
5 Bonus Foliage Favorites for Growing Indoors
These leafy plants add much-needed pops of color, too!
- Zebra plants
- Purple shamrock
- Ti plant
- Polka dot plant
- photo credit: jurgko/Pixabay
With tons of begonia options, it’s hard to choose just one. Wax begonias are the classic choice, with sturdy leaves and lots of flowers. Angel wing and rex begonias add interesting foliage into the mix. All begonias like a little extra humidity, so fill a shallow dish with water and rocks and set the pot on top.
Why we love it: Double begonias boast blooms that look like roses, and petals on picotee types have darker edges that make them stand out.
Bonus tip!: Remove spent begonia blooms to encourage fresh growth. Once the plant is done blossoming, cut it back until the weather warms.
- photo credit: TS Photographer/Shutterstock
2. Chinese hibiscus
Nothing evokes the feeling of sunny climates like the big, bright blossoms of tropical hibiscus. Give it plenty of room to grow along with as much direct sun as possible, and you’ll reap the rewards all year long. Hibiscus blooms on new growth, so prune it only once or twice a year.
Why we love it: New cultivars offer stunning blossoms in an array of colors, and double-flowered varieties amp up the wow factor.
- photo credit: Cocone/Shutterstock
Kalanchoe (say “kal-un-KOH-ee”) is a short-day plant; it needs 14 hours of total darkness each night to start blooming. Look for bunches of red, orange, pink or white to appear among the waxy green leaves by the end of February. Kalanchoe is a succulent, so occasional thorough watering is all it requires.
Why we love it: Late winter is when we tend to need a colorful display the most, so kalanchoe’s long-lasting clusters of starry blooms show up at the perfect time.
- photo credit: V J Matthew/Shutterstock
4. African violet
This quintessential flowering houseplant has a few quirks. Use room-temperature water to wet the soil when dry, but don’t let drops stay on leaves or allow the roots to sit in water. African violets require lots of bright indirect light, but be sure to keep your plant out of direct sun. Once you’ve figured out the right location, you’ll know—a blooming African violet is a happy one.
Why we love it: Successful plants make multiple crowns, which you can remove and use to grow new plants for friends.
- photo credit: Crepessuzette/Pixabay
Scented geraniums have been treasured houseplants since colonial days, when housewives shared cuttings to brighten neighbors’ homes. Ivy-leaved geraniums spill over the sides of their containers, while seed and zonal geraniums are more upright.
Why we love it: A well-cared-for heirloom geranium survives for years, and easy propagation from cuttings makes sharing with friends a snap.
- photo credit: Sharon Wills/Shutterstock
6. Flowering maple
This houseplant is a member of the mallow family. Flowering maple has lovely bell-shaped blossoms in shades of yellow, orange and white. Popular in Victorian times, this unusual small shrub is making a much-deserved comeback. Give it lots of sun indoors; move it outside for the summer.
Why we love it: Varieties like Tiger Eye offer striking yellow blooms with red veins, and the maple-like leaves add interest year-round.
- photo credit: Patrick Civello/Shutterstock
Your home will feel like spring when this fragrant favorite bursts into delicate bloom. The tiny white flowers pack a perfumed punch that continues for weeks, turning your home into a sweetly scented paradise. Jasmine needs lower night temperatures to flower, so keep it away from furnace vents.
Why we love it: Jasmine is a vine, so use it in hanging pots or place a small decorative trellis in the container and train it to climb.
- photo credit: Ideation90/Shutterstock
8. Lipstick plant
The flower clusters on the lipstick plant are sure to draw admiring eyes. The small scarlet flower rises from a maroon tube-shaped bud, looking just like the lipstick it’s named for. This tropical vine prefers bright light, regular fertilizer and soil kept moist
but not wet.
Why we love it: Hang a lipstick plant in a brightly lit room and let the flower-covered vines trail down.
- photo credit: fietzfotos/Pixabay
With orchids, it’s best to start out easy with a Phalaenopsis, which is also called a moth orchid. These low-maintenance beauties thrive in any light except direct sun and, in general, only need weekly watering. Other popular varieties of orchids include Cattleya and Dendrobium.
Why we love it: Orchid blooms last for weeks or months with minimal care, and some are wonderfully fragrant.
- photo credit: hpgruesen/pixabay
Bearing multiple buds on a single stalk, amaryllis are popular holiday gifts. They flower only once a year, but these showstoppers are worth the wait. When the display is over, cut off the stalks and allow the foliage to grow. New buds will appear the following winter.
Why we love it: Horticulturalists have created dozens of amaryllis specimens, and they’re all easy to maintain.
Bonus tip!: With care and attention, you can keep your amaryllis blooming year after year. To coax your plant into blooming around the holidays, move the pot to a cool place (around 55 degrees) in fall to begin its dormant period.
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