Easy Exotic Houseplants
Low Light Lovers
There are several exotic houseplants that are extremely easy to grow. Many Varieties are colorful or bloom nicely for several months.
Goof-proof is hard to come by, however, some of the varieties below almost asked to be ignored.
All can be purchased at your local florist or nuservy and will certainly brighten up any room in the house.
Spathiphyllum, commonly known as the Peace Lily, is one of the more exceptional interior plants, because it does very well under low light and also flowers.
Spathiphyllum means "leaf spathe." Their white flower looks a bit like a cala lily or anthurium. Blooming generally starts between February and April, with the peak bloom season running from about April to September.
Peace Lilies are native to warm humid, tropical rain forests, where they are shaded by surrounding jungle vegetation. Therefore, this plant prefers moist, filtered low light indoors. You may want to position yours near or opposite a curtained southern exposure.
Spathipyllum are thirsty plants and they'll let you know quickly when they require water. A noticeable droop in the foliage is your cue. They bounce back quickly once watered. Spathiphyllum soil should be kept moist, but not soggy.
The botanical name for Chinese Evergreen is Aglaonema. Since the 1990's many new hybrid colors and leaf patterns have been developed. Aglaonema have dark green or variegated leaves of about 1½-feet long and approximately 5-inches wide. They grow to be 2- to 3-feet in height.
Some of the more brilliant varieties are 'Silver King' or Silver Queen,' not surprisingly both have silver markings. 'Emerald Star' is quite unique with splashes of gold in the foliage.
Chinese Evergreens do best in moderate light, such as near a north window. As with most tropicals, these plants flourish in almost any well draining soil. Most growers use a mixture of peat moss, bark and sand.
Even though over-watering is a quick way to kill any plant, try not to allow this plant to dry out between waterings. As a general rule, water only when the soil feels dry 1 to 2-inches below the soil surface.
Fertilizer for Spathipyllum & Aglaonema
When grown indoors, the above plants have almost no need for fertilizer. If you feel the need to fertilize use a well-balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20.
Pests and Diseases - Spathipyllum & Aglaonema
One of the great benefits of growing these plants indoors is that they have very few pest problems. Mealy buts are probably the most common insect indoors. Root and stem diseases are the most common problem and this is usually caused by over watering. Clean the leaves regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust will help. This will not only keep the plant looking nice, but it will also remove pests which gather under the bottom of the leaves.
Bright Light Beauties
Bromeliads are a large family of plants (Vriesia, Billbergia, Aechmae, Annanas, Bromelia, Guzmania, Cryptanthus, Neoreglia) and also one of the hardiest of houseplants. They are able to tolerate much neglect.
The leaves grow in rosettes, which sometimes form a small water-holding vase. If warm, moist conditions are provided, they develop a spike-shaped colorful flower that can last up to 12 weeks.
Bromeliads do best if grown in moderate to bright daylight indoors. Many will tolerate a bit of low light for a while, but do better if bathed in indirect bright light.
Pot-up these beauties in regular potting soil that drains easily. Conveniently, bromeliads like their soil to dry out between waterings, that is, when the top inch of their soil feels nearly dry. For vase-forming varieties, keep the vase filled with water.
Phalaenopsis Orchids are very easy to grow indoors. They require the following care, like other tropical orchids:
Most orchids like bright light. This makes them grow and flower properly.
Most orchids like a cool breeze and good air circulation.
Most tropical orchids like temperatures of 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most orchids like to have their roots dry out between watering and therefore, need watering only once every two weeks
Most orchids like a humid environment. Create one by placing a bowl of water near your plants. Or, set the orchid on a saucer of rocks filled with water.
Most orchids like to be fertilized when they are growing, usually spring through early autumn. Follow the directions of the package.
Approximately 30-thousand orchid varieties inhabit the earth, but only a few of these are propagated to live in our American homes.
When purchasing an orchid, ask for care instructions, specific to your orchid.
If you can't get yours to re-bloom, give it to someone who can. Because they last so long, Phalaenopsis are a very inexpensive decorating accessory.