As the outside world turns cold and devoid of color, it's the perfect time to add a splash of greenery to your indoor space. Beautiful houseplants can add style as living sculpture or infuse living color into your home décor. Houseplants also will improve the air quality in winter homes. Don't settle for just any plant, look for one that thrives in your special conditions. Don't worry, there is a plant for all gardeners and all home environments. The plants below were selected for their trendy 'good looks' as well as minimal care.
Bromeliads are fantastic, foliage plants with strappy leaves that crown the plant in sunset colors: red, pink, yellow or purple. Like orchids, bromeliads are epiphytes. They grow on trees, rocks or other plants, and get their water and nutrients from the air and rainwater. Although that sounds exotic, bromeliad varieties make great, low maintenance houseplants.
Light: Place in bright light for best results but not direct sunlight. They can tolerate lower light conditions, for awhile.
Fertilizer: Bromeliads are light feeders so only fertilize them when they are actively growing. Use a diluted solution of houseplant fertilizer, per directions.
Water: Water plant thoroughly when top few inches of soil are dry. Water the soil weekly during the growing season and reduce the watering during the winter rest period. Never allow the plant to stand in water. Use filtered water for best result.
Fiddle-Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata)
The Fiddle-Leaf Fig is the cool kid in town and has been featured in many shelter magazines from coast to coast. It is native to the African jungle but can adapt to your home environment more easily with just a few tips. It is well-behaved, bold and beautiful with its distinctive large, violin-shaped leaves. Love it either as a leafy shrub or as a tall tree with an exposed mini trunk, but just give it what it desires... lots of bright, indirect light, humidity, regular watering and no cold drafts.
Light: A brightly lit location with no direct sunlight is best, although a small amount of daily sun is fine, this beauty is not happy in scorching, mid-afternoon sun.
Fertilizer: This type of Ficus doesn't have a strong need for fertilizer. During the spring and summer months, provide the plant with a diluted fertilizer once a month.
Water: Water when the top of the soil becomes slightly dry. Reduce the watering in the winter. The worst thing to do is to over water, not under water.
Tips: If the plant drops its leaves, give it some time to adjust to its new location. Be careful if you have pets, it is poisonous to dogs, cats and horses.
Split Leaf Philodendron, Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
Add a tropical feel to your home or office with this dramatic yet easy-to-care-for plant. The Split Leaf Philodendron (also known as the Hurricane or Swiss Cheese Plant) has a pleasing, mounding shape with glossy leaves that fan out like fingers. These bold and sassy characteristics meld well with contemporary designs.
Light: They prefer bright, indirect light but will tolerate low light. The leaves will develop smaller and will grow farther apart on the stems.
Fertilizer: Feed your plant spring and again in mid summer with a liquid, plant fertilizer.
Water: Keep the soil evenly moist, but allow it to dry out between waterings. Keep Philodendrons slightly drier during the winter months when the growth slows. Over watering will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Under watering will cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off.
Tips: Wash the leaves regularly to prevent the pores from becoming plugged with dust.
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
The huge, gray-green leaves will warm up any room! Also called the Crane Flower, the Bird of Paradise is known in the floral industry for its exotic blooms that look like a colorful bird's head. The Bird of Paradise is a bold, lush plant with glossy leaves that grow up from the base into a large, mounding shape.
Light: Indoors: pick a well-lit, sunny spot. In summer months: keep out of direct sun.
Water: Water plant consistently.
Fertiizer: Fertilize in growing seasons, spring and summer. Keep drier in winter months and use a well-draining potting soil.
Tips: It is an excellent plant for sunrooms, atriums or greenhouses. It doesn't mind summering outdoors and coming back inside in the fall.
Snake Plant, Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Sanseveria)
This nearly indestructible plant will sit happily in a warm, sunny location, but will even tolerate lower light conditions. Fleshy, flat and sharply pointed leaves stand tall and narrow in a container. There is never a need to fuss over this stemless plant from tropical western Africa. The bold, vertical shape complements minimal or contemporary settings.
Light: Indirect light is best but this hardy plant will tolerate a range of bright to low light locations.
Water: The lower the light, the less you need to water. Don't pour water directly onto the rosette of leaves. Instead, water around the base of the plant for best results. Allow the plant to dry out between waterings.
Fertilize: When the plant is grown in a pot, a little general purpose fertilizer is good enough.
Toxicity: Keep plants away from children and pets. Leaves are poisonous, if consumed.
You'll enjoy each season more fully, if you surround yourself with living plants.