In the Garden: Flowering houseplants

Winters can be grey and colorless, especially when you are looking from the inside out. Consider adding a little color to your indoor landscape with a few easy to grow flowering plants.

African Violets have been a perennial favorite for generations. It is one of the most collected species for many plant enthusiasts. It is compact in size and produces a huge pop of color periodically throughout the year.

African Violets can be a little fussy when it comes to watering. If you follow these simple tips you should not have any problems. One key tip is to water plants from the bottom. African Violets have furry leaves that prefer to remain dry. Repot violets in a self-watering container, a pot within another pot. The pot the the violet is planted in is porous and absorbs water from the reservoir. This helps prevent overwatering and keeps the leaves dry. They prefer to dry between waterings and like a Northeastern exposure to bask in the morning light.

When repotting use African Violet mix and fertilize bi-weekly with a 8-14-9 nutrient ratio.

Begonias range from flowering Tuberous Begonias to Rex Begonias. Tuberous begonias like Non-stop and have rose like blossoms. Rieger Begonias also known as the winter begonia burst with a wide variety of beautiful colors and bloom prolifically in bright light throughout the season.

Rex begonias are technically not known for their flowers, but pack a punch with their brightly colored foliage. Both are low maintenance and prefer the soil to dry thoroughly between each watering. Don’t be afraid to bring your Begonias outdoors for the summer. They are awesome in shade containers and bloom all summer. Fertilize weekly during the growing season with all- purpose 20-20-20 nutrient ratio. Dead head spent blooms to encourage more blooming.

Calandiva, a type of Kalanchoe, is a tropical succulent in the Crassulacaea family. Its tiny clusters of double-star shaped flowers bloom for six weeks and takes little care. Keep in a bright sunny location and allow the soil to dry out. Once the plant is done blooming cut off spent blossoms. Plants can bloom again when light exposure is manipulated.

Gerbera Daisy have large daisy like flowers that are color saturated in rich jewel tones as well as pretty pastels. You can find Gerbera Daisies during the winter months at your local garden center and grocery store. They are happy growing indoors as well as outdoors in flower beds and containers. Keep plants in a bright, indirect sunny window with daytime temperatures at 70 degrees.

The key to keeping these flowers happy is careful watering. You want to be sure to water when the soil is dry to the touch and the pot feels light in weight. Soak the plant thoroughly and allow to drain properly. When blooms are spent snip the flower and stem to promote more blooms. Fertilize monthly using a water soluble fertilizer. I recommend using an acid fertilizer at half the rate once per month. This will help maintain the 6.2 ph level that is ideal for Gerbera Daisies to keep blooming.