Find fragrance and beauty in flowering houseplants. The blooming beauties described here will help you pick the best ones for your home.
African violets are among the easiest to grow flowering houseplants. They bloom year-round with little effort. Choose from hundreds of varieties and forms, some with variegated foliage or ruffled or white-edged blooms. African violet likes warm conditions and filtered sunlight. Avoid getting water on the fuzzy leaves; cold water causes unsightly brown spots.
Here’s a tip: It’s easy to start new plants; simply cut off a leaf and root it in moist potting mix.
Why We Love It: If you have a bright window, this plant will bloom almost constantly. They’re also really versatile, blooming in almost every color to match your decor. Plus, it’s a sentimental, old-fashioned plant that reminds us of our grandmothers.
Name: Saintpaulia ionantha
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 8 inches tall and 16 inches wide
Tropical hibiscus is the ultimate plant for creating a touch of the tropics. It forms huge blooms, up to 8 inches in diameter, on a shrubby upright plant that you can train to grow as a tree. Individual blossoms last only a day or two, but plants bloom freely from late spring through fall and occasionally through winter. Keep the soil uniformly moist and give the plant as much indoor light as possible to keep it blooming.
Why We Love It: The giant blooms are eye-catching and irresistible. Plus, hibiscus come in a dizzying array of colors – from shades of red to pink to orange, yellow, white, and even blue.
Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 55-70 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide
Crepe-paper-like blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, or yellow dangle among leaves like festive lanterns. Many varieties have splotched or variegated foliage for extra interest. Grow the plant upright as a tree, prune it back to keep it shrubby, or even grow it in a hanging basket. Its common name comes from the leaves, which resemble those of a maple tree.
Here’s a tip: If blooms drop, check the watering. Uneven watering can cause flowers to fall.
Why We Love It: This fast-growing plant is almost constantly in bloom.
Name: Abutilon x hybridum
Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide
Oxalis bears triangular, clover-like purple leaves and an almost constant show of pink or white blooms. Look for varieties that have plain green foliage with or without silvery accents. Oxalis grows from small bulbils in the soil; you can divide these any time the plant becomes crowded in its pot.
Why We Love It: The shamrock-shape leaves are beautiful and charming. Plus, it’s a great gift on St. Patrick’s Day.
Name: Oxalis triangularis
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 12 inches tall and wide
Peace lily is an easy-care plant that tolerates low light and low humidity. Flowers consist of a showy spoon-shape white spathe and spike of creamy white flowers. Bloom is heaviest in summer, but many varieties bloom throughout the year. The glossy, lance-shape leaves are attractive even when the plant has no blooms.
Why We Love It: Its large green leaves create instant tropical appeal and it’s one of the most common and easy flowering houseplants you can grow.
Name: Spathiphyllum wallisii
Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-85 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide
Note: This plant is poisonous and can make children or pets ill if they eat or chew on the plant.
Anthuriums bloom in festive shades of pink, red, lavender, or white, and last for two months or more. They also make a long-lasting cut flower if you can bear to cut them. Anthurium needs medium to bright light to bloom well, but can be grown as a foliage plant with less light.
Why We Love It: Its cute factor: The flowers and foliage are both heart-shaped.
Name: Anthurium andraeanum
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-80 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist, barely moist in fall and winter
Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide
Note: This plant is poisonous and can cause illness if eaten or chewed by children or pets.
There are many types of jasmine. Many-flowered jasmine (J. polyanthum, pictured), and Arabian jasmine (J. sambac) are two of the easiest to grow; just give them plenty of light and moisture. They’ll all bear fragrant pink to white blooms on vining plants.
Why We Love It: The beautiful pink or white blooms are the some of the most fragrant you’ll find on any houseplant.
Name: Jasminum spp.
Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 60-75 degrees F., 40-60 degrees F. in winter; keep soil evenly moist
Size: To 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide
Also called Cape primrose, streptocarpus blooms almost continuously if given the right conditions. Most of the hundreds of hybrid varieties available bear trusses of pink, white, purple, or red flowers, often with contrasting white or yellow throats. With the exception of providing cooler winter temperatures, treat it as you would its cousin, African violet.
Why We Love It: The gorgeous flowers come in a wide range of colors and the plants are easy to grow and propagate.
Name: Streptocarpus x hybridus
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 70-80 degrees F., 60-65 degrees F. in winter; keep soil barely moist
Size: To 18 inches tall and 30 inches wide