Flowering plants

Everyone wants ro have flowers in the home, bur unless you have a garden, cut flowers need to be bought fresh ever)' week. A flowering plant, on the other hand, will bloom for several weeks at the very least, and often for several months. Some will flower all the year round, if allowed to. Don't forget you can have pot plants in flower in winter, too, a time when the garden may be bereft, or when flowers from a florist are at a premium. There is something peculiarly satisfying about having .1 plant 6f your own which flowerSi .especially if you have grown it to that stage yourself. Flowering plants are not as easy to care for as leafy ones, and the successful cultivation of these, and especially of fruiting plants, says a lot for your horticultural skill.

Velvety Leaves Hanging PlantWinter Flowering Pot Plants
AtX)ve Delicate tin we is of Jasmmum officinale Lett Cineraria events an armual fluwenng plant Opposite The exotic Gloxinia with its velvety leaves is becoming increasingly popular

Flowering pot plants are an extremely good way of adding colour, fragrance and a great deal ot beauty to the home, \s with leafy plants, there are different shapes; the trailing tines with their hanging stems festooned with blooms, such as the Italian bellflower {Campanula isopbylla), or the climbers, such as the passion-flower (Pasiiflora caerulea), bloytt carrnsa fthe wax flower) or } asm mum grandiftorum, white-Ho we red anil strongly scented. You can have great fun training these in .ill sorts of ways circular, triangular, upright on moss sticks and trellises, or to surround windowframes.

Most of the flowering plants have a rounded or bushy-shape; some, like the Urican violet, are very small, some really large the hydrangea and the African lime Sparmanma afritana) and man\ are in the medium-size range, such as the cyclamen, gloxinia, primulas and pelargoniums. But there are tall-growing ones to choose from as well, if that is the kind of shape vou want, for instance fuchsias, clivia and anthuriums.

W hatever the season, there will always be an indoor plant to flower during it and, although the winter might he thought a bad time for such plants, there are almost more at that time than in the summer. Aphelandras, azaleas. Cape heaths, poinsettias or Pacbystachys ¡utea are .1 few winter flowering plants whose blooms will las;, w ith care, for several weeks or months.

Buy Crown Thorns PlantCommon Flowering Houseplants
Above A very old (avounie. Catefduta officinalis or the common mangold will thrive indoors or m a window bo* Below £nca camga an easily flrown winter-flowering plant
Common Cactus Houseplants

In summer, you can go in for gloxinias, streptocarpus, the double flowered begonias, a chimerics and calceolarias, to say nothing of the legions of cactus species which can so easily be brought to flower. You can wcl come the spring with cinerarias, astilbe, genista, and later, epiphyHums: all kinds of bulbs which flower outdoors tn spring can be brought on indoors to flower in late winter anil very early spring. As the summer ends and autumn arrives, the nerines, hibiscus and autumn crocus will begin to bloom, epiphy Hums will have their second season, and many other summer plants will still be in flower.

Some flowering plants have the endearing habit of blooming the whole year round if you let them. It is not, actually, a good idea for a plant to flower non stop; it gets exhausted and dies sooner than it need, but vou can let it flower for most of the \ ear, with the tight feeding. Busy l.ix/ie Impatiens), and the shrimp plant Btfaptrane guttata) are two that bloom continuously as do small-flowering begonias, both the kinds used for betiding and the w inter-flowering ones. Others which flower for many months are Exacum affint, with a mass of deep purple flowers, \frican violet, chrysanthemum. Strtptn-carpus, the crown of thorns (Euphorbia mitii) and Dipiudenia.

If you have a special affection for fragrant flowers, you will find that some of the indoor plants can have an overpowering perfume. Fragrant plants include ¡;is mine, Stepbanotis floribmda, izxacumr, Iris reticulata, hyacinth, narcissi, miniature roses, calamondin. and some of the epiphvllums and cvclamen.

Flowering plants often have highly ornamental evergreen leaves, so that thev are doubly worthwhile, but there are some with a third bonus, the fruiting plants. The ei hi month n probabh tops all these for value for money, because it can easily be in flower and fruit at the same time, as well as having glossy, deep-green, evergreen leaves, <>thers are the Christmas chern [ Solatium capsUastrnm) with white flowers in summer and marhle-si/eil red berries in autumn and winter, ant! the ornamental pepper, Capsicum f ru/i .urns.

In the snme way that foliage plants have special needs, so flowering indoor plants have basic requirements which should be met if they are to enjoy first-class health ant! provide vou with the pleasure of a superblv ornamental plant.

Light is the most important ingredient in the recipe for success. Without a good light -preferably direct sunlight very few plants can ripen their growth so that they produce flowers, and later fruits. So put your flowering plants close to windows and glass doors.

I lowever, it" the summer sun is very hot and bright, as can happen at midday, move them away temporarily, or provide light shading. If you have anv skvlights, make the most of them, because the biggest problem with bringing indoor plants into flower is the lack of overhead light. Greenhouses and lean-to garden rooms are successful because they have this built-in advantage, as well as being extra warm.

Kven if you cannot give flowering plants a window sill, trv to put them on a plant stand or table (or a Victorian whatnot), as near to a source of light as possible, so that they at least have a good light even if they are nor dircctly in the sun.

If you are totally bereft of any good natural light, you can supply it artificially, in the form of a light cabinet, which has strip neon lighting, and often thermostat! cally controlled supplementary heating as well. Light cabinets are not cheap, but are very pretty when tilled with plants, and are of course permanent once bought.

To some extent, you can also overcome a lack of intense light by giving the plant a high-potash fertilizer,

Winter Flowering Pot PlantsPhosphorus For Begonia
Above Site pots of Begonia hybrids Pendula where their hanging blooms ceil be best appreciated Left Ka/ancfioe biossfeldtana

because potassium is the nutrient associated with flowering and fruiting. Like light, potash helps in the maturing of plant growth and, as well as making sure it is present in the compost, you can use a liquid feed which has a higher percentage of potash in it than the Other two major plant foods, nitrogen and phosphorus,

The duration of light, or day-length, is important to quite a lot of plants, since it a fleets whether they actually flower or not. Some are 'short-day' plants, that is, thev will only flower when the daylight hours are less than the night-time or dark ones. Because of this, thev can be made to flower at any time of the year, by giving them short or long days as required, to bring them on or hold them back. This is wh\ you can now get chrysanthemums in flower at any time of the year, not just autumn. Poinsettias arc also shorr-dav plants and they will not form coloured bracts in winter unless given short days in autumn.

Humidity is viral. \ dry atmosphere can ruin all vour care at the last minute becausc the buds will drop oif without opening, or if they do unfold, the flowers will drop almost at once. Be doubly careful to spray or mist regularly just before flowering time, although afterwards. when in full flower, it is better to use trays of evaporating water close to the plants so that the petals

Exacum Insects

Above The seecMed Uhjums uf Cak voteon disrn tiv-ri. pijin i. stiaped Bf-tow A,*,i;t',)s wrti icp ty the 'Mils a*iM i e it--, demand Opposite The qorgerns bloom i < ah Hrf&srus ruxa sinensis

Above The seecMed Uhjums uf Cak voteon disrn tiv-ri. pijin i. stiaped Bf-tow A,*,i;t',)s wrti icp ty the 'Mils a*iM i e it--, demand Opposite The qorgerns bloom i < ah Hrf&srus ruxa sinensis

.ire not marked bv drops of falling w ater.

W hen flowering is near, do not move plant- it' you can avoid it as this also encourages buds ro drop; si> does dryness at the roots, and draughts. < )ncc the flowers are dead, take them off so that tfec\ neither rot the leaves onto which thev have fallen, nor provide a place for grey mould to get a hold.

The shrubbv and climbing or trailing flowering plants will need careful pruning if you are not to remove all potential flowering. In general, it is the practice to prune container plant- in late winter, shortly before re potting and or spring growth starts.

Sometimes it is better to prune directly after flow er ing. This should be done with plants that flower in spring or early summer, as the new shoots which they then produce during the rest of the growing season will be the ones on w hich they (lower the following spring. It you prune this kind in late winter, you will only cut <ifl what would otherwise have been flowering shoots.

Plants that flower in mid summer or autumn can he safelv pruned in late winter; some may even be pruned as soon as flowering has finished.

Flowering Houseplant

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Responses

  • berhane
    Why window sill plants ho mouldy?
    8 years ago
  • LUKAS OSTERMANN
    Which plants flower in the winter?
    8 years ago

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