Caring for flowering indoor plants
Indoor plants are usually thought of as lush and green. Odd leaf shapes, patterns or variegations add to their intrigue and desirability. There are, however, many plants that grow indoors and produce flowers or that can be brought indoors temporarily for a floral display. These flowering plants give an extra dimension to an indoor display, adding colour and sometimes perfume.
Indoor flowering plants include spathiphyllum, hoya, African violet, anthurium, some orchids, sansevieria (mother-in-law’s tongue) and many more. Indoor flowering plants may flower seasonally or when conditions suit their growth.
Plants that can be brought indoors for a week or up to six weeks while in flower include cymbidium and dendrobium orchids, many succulents including kalanchoe, poinsettia, azalea, dwarf bougainvillea and flowering bulbs including cyclamen, lilium and hyacinth among others.
Flowering indoor plant care tips
Flowering indoor plants need similar care to other indoor plants, but best flowering occurs in brightly lit situations, which encourage blooming. Position plants grown for flowering in a brightly lit spot indoors. This might be beside a north-facing window or in a room well lit by windows and sky lights. Make sure the plant can’t be burnt by strong, direct sunlight. Flowering can also be encouraged by allowing indoor plants to rest outdoors, especially prior to flowering. Those plants brought indoors while in flower should be returned to their normal outdoor locations as the flowers fade.
Ventilation and heating
All indoor plants will benefit from being in well-ventilated rooms and away from direct heat or draughts. These factors may damage blooms and foliage and can shorten flowering time.
Flowering plants benefit from regular watering. You should check soil moisture frequently and water as needed to keep the potting mix moist. Avoid watering over the flowers as this may harm the blooms - keep moisture to the root zone only.
Fertiliser and tonic
Flowering is also encouraged with a good fertiliser regime, which would include liquid feeding frequently in the lead up to and through the flowering season. For indoor flowering plants in general, Flower Power recommends Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Plant Food. For orchids and African violets look for specially formulated fertilisers - Flower Power recommends Osmocote Pour + Feed Orchid Food and Manutec African Violet Food. Regular applications of seaweed tonic, such as Seasol, also assists flowering.
Finally, as the flowers fade, they should be deadheaded to reduce stress on the plant. In the case of cyclamens, take care to twist spent flowers off at their base.