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Blooming plants bring life indoors

A hibiscus is seen blooming in a Jamestown home. (John Zvirovski / The Sun)

Indoor plants always seem to be easier to grow if they have certain characteristics you enjoy. Those elements give us the incentive and passion we need to ensure their success. Just like a job or other important thing in your life, if you enjoy the process and anticipate the beauty that results, it is well worth the efforts. Indoor blooming plants give me that same drive to ensure success, as I know something beautiful will occur if my efforts pay off.

Luckily for many of us, regardless of our plant knowledge and skill level, there are different types of blooming plants that require various degrees of care. Surely, one of them will meet your needs and reward you with endless blooms throughout its lifetime.

One of my favorite blooming plants is the hibiscus. Not only does it hold a tropical flair, but it comes in varieties that produce various sized blooms. Some are as small as a quarter and others can produce blooms nearly the size of a dinner plate. Many different shades are available also. Red, yellow, pink and white are some of the more common colors, but now there are also great orange, burgundy, and multi-toned selections.  One of the newest shades is touted as blue, but it is more of a lavender shade, but still is very striking in its ability to please the eye. The main requirement to keep a hibiscus blooming is to give it four to six hours of direct sunlight per day to ensure bud formation. Typically they go dormant for about two to three months during winter, producing little growth. Once actively growing, they prefer being fertilized on a regular basis. Be aware that some of the selections can grow quite large, so require a fair amount of space once mature.

African violets are another common blooming plant for the indoors. They can bloom during any season of the year, but these plants do not like direct light as the sun’s intense rays can burn the leaves and create yellow or brown spots. Bright and indirect lighting is what they prefer along with their waterings to come from the tray beneath and not from the soil above. Water on the leaves will also cause spots and increase the possibility for crown rot in the center where the leaves develop. These plants produce stems of dainty and elegant blooms in many shades of red, pink, purple, lavender, white, and numerous bi–colors. People are either highly successful with these plants or occasionally struggle with their proper placement in the home for optimal growth. If you have the touch with these, you will have a difficult time going wrong with any selection you choose.

Many people have the Christmas cactus or other forms of cactus that seem to be pretty carefree as long as you don’t overwater them and give them plenty of light. Most tend to produce flowers when the daylight hours have naturally decreased and there is a rest period from growing. Usually this is a time when watering has been decreased also. Once two to three months have passed, regular watering should slowly begin to take place and soon flower buds begin to appear. Many cactus also seem to produce flower buds when they have gone under the stress of low watering and cool temperatures. Like many plants, when stress occurs, the plant tries to produce seed in order to create new plants. In order to succeed with this, it needs to produce the flower first. Plants like the Christmas cactus and Easter cactus can bloom two to three times a year if given the right conditions.

Cyclamen are another common blooming plant that actually grows from a corm or bulb, but if treated properly, can grow for years without rest. Bright and indirect lighting is best with moist, but not soggy, soils. A healthy plant will continuously bloom throughout the year giving beautiful flowers of red, pink, white and purple. Some selections even have ruffle-edged petals, which are particularly attractive.

Everyone is familiar with the Peace Lily as they are given for gifts all the time. One of the main reason people give them to others is because they are tough in homes that do not have a lot of bright light. Their main requirement is regular waterings to prevent the plant from going into the wilt stage where the leaves droop to the sides. Medium to large white flowers will come up from the center of the plant during every month of the year. Each flower can last up to a month long once it appears.

Other blooming plants such as the kaffir lily, Agapanthus, oleander, bouganvilla, and bird of paradise are also wonderful bloomers with a tropical twist. Most of these require high degrees of direct light in order to produce flowers indoors, but if you have large windows or a sunroom, these will adapt well and give you multitudes of blooms throughout the year.

Orchids are either your worst nightmare or your best friend depending on how well you grow them. They can bloom a couple times per year and once in bloom their flowers can last anywhere from two weeks to three months depending on the variety and surrounding conditions. Humidity is a great asset for these types of plants, but direct sunlight is rarely required.

Keep in mind that any plant can bloom if it has the right conditions, but these are just some of the more popular selections with some of the most show-stopping flowers that you can imagine. If you want something that has flowers for your indoor environment, there is no shortage of possibilities. With some good care, you will be rewarded with many pretty blooms throughout the season for many years to come.