Indoor plants are the décor item du jour. Not only do houseplants instantly elevate any space within a home, indoor plants have health and wellbeing benefits when correctly cared for and grouped together in a room. But it isn’t just indoor foliage plants that are having a moment. Indoor flowering plants are gaining in popularity, but they require more work, a little more specific care, and careful placement to thrive indoors. But when indoor flowering plants do thrive, you will never need to buy a bunch of flowers again, as your own home will be a riot of colour almost all year round.
Pros and cons of indoor flowering plants
In reality, there aren’t many varieties of plants that are genuinely indoor flowering plants. It’s more likely that a variety is capable of adapting to indoor conditions given the right care, that the plant will produce a blooming flower. With that in mind, here are some common pros and cons of indoor flowering plants in Australia.
“Choosing the right species of indoor flowers is crucial as healthy flowering indoor plants are beholden to completely different conditions than when grown outdoors,” says Tom Smith of landscaping business Dangar Barin Smith. “The beautiful flowering plants you see outside in gardens more often than not cannot be replicated inside your home. Stick to indoor flower species that are tried and tested in indoor environments."
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Another common issue, according to Better Homes and Gardens garden editor, Roger Fox, is that indoor flowering plants often do not re-bloom.
“This is usually due to one of two factors: not enough light or inadequate humidity,” says Roger. “To provide more light, place indoor flowering houseplants in an east or north facing room, in a spot which receives lots of indirect sunshine. And to provide more humidity, consider placing them in the most humid room in the house – the bathroom! They don’t need to live there permanently, just pop them in for a few days during the week, and then enjoy them in your living room over the weekend. Also, remember to feed indoor flowering plants with a flower-promoting fertiliser formulation.”
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Roger explains that there are some outdoor flowering plants that can flower when indoors, but only for a few weeks displays. In summer, Roger recommends hydrangeas and begonias as fair-weather indoor flowering plants, while in winter, the hellebore (or winter rose) will look great indoors.
“To display them inside just pop your plastic-potted plant inside a more decorative outer pot or pot and stand combo, and enjoy the colour they add for a few weeks. When they stop blooming place them back outside or plant into the garden,” says Roger.
Tips and tricks for keeping your indoor flowering plants alive
Seasoned landscaper Tom Smith has some excellent suggestions for keeping indoor flowers alive and healthy, such as choosing positions that are close to windows with indirect sunlight, so your houseplant is in a bright environment. Another suggestion from Tom is to avoid putting indoor flowering plants in high traffic areas and dark corners.
“Plant care is essential for longevity,” says Tom. “Taking your plants outside and giving them a good soak, exposing them to the elements once a fortnight will keep them lush and healthy.”
Better Homes and Gardens expert Roger Fox says that direct sunshine on your flowering plants is usually too harsh and can lead to leaf or flower burn, but steer clear of locating your flowering plant in a hallway or corner. Roger also recommends watering plants regularly, only when the top three to four centimetres of soil is dry to the touch. Make sure the soil doesn’t stay saturated though.
“Feed plants periodically using a soluble fertilizer formulated for flowering plants, such as Thrive Flower + Fruit and always follow the application rate recommended on the pack,” says Roger. “Remove faded flowers by snipping them off right at the base of the stem, and also cut off any yellow leaves.”
8 of the best indoor flowering plants in Australia
A relative of the pineapple, these tropical indoor flowering plants feature striking blossoms that bring a serious pop of colour to your indoor garden.
“Although tolerant of low light, bromeliads need a relatively bright spot to encourage blooms,” says Lauren Camilleri, co-founder of Sydney plant delivery service, Leaf Supply. “They flower infrequently but it's worth the wait and the ornamental foliage is beautiful in its own right. Maintain humidity by sitting them on a saucer filled with pebbles and water. The plant produces offsets known as pups that can be propagated to grow your collection on the cheap.”
7. Lipstick plant
The Aeschynanthus pulcher, or lipstick plant, is another beautiful foliage plant with lovely blooms to boot. “The Aeschynanthus is a fantastic trailing plant that with enough bright, indirect light will produce incredible red flowers that resemble a tube of lipstick,” says Lauren of Leaf Supply. “Water once the top 2cm or so of soil is dry and ensure they're sitting somewhere with plenty of natural light.”
6. Flamingo lily
Known as the flamingo lily or flamingo flower, the anthurium ambianum is a low maintenance perennial recommended by Tom. It requires light, as more sun light equals more flowers. “Anthurium is susceptible to root rot so don’t over water and ensure soil is well draining,” says Lauren of Leaf Supply. “To promote the best blooms, use a fertiliser that has a higher phosphorus number. A feed every few months should do the trick.”
5. Hoya obovate
“When foliage is just as important as flowers, Hoyas reign supreme,” says Lauren Camilleri, co-founder of Sydney plant delivery service, Leaf Supply.
“Blessed with thick, juicy leaves these beauties will bring the lushness without the effort. Also referred to as the wax plant due to its waxy foliage and stems, this semi-succulent is wonderfully easy to care for. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. She’ll even reward a bit of neglect with some banging blooms, pretty balls of teeny tiny five-pointed stars that smell as sweet as they look.”
4. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana
The kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a long-flowering perennial succulent that requires warm temperatures. “Once flower heads wither, cut them back,” says Tom.
‘This will encourage additional flowers to blossom.”
Orchids are some of the easiest flowering plants to grow indoors and the Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, is one of the most popular choices.
“They require only low to medium light and it's not uncommon to see them thriving on a desk under nothing more than a fluorescent light,” says Lauren. “Their long-lasting blooms come in a wide variety of colours including white, pink, orange and purple and they grow best in a very well-draining medium to avoid root rot. To stimulate growth once the blooms have dropped off snip the stem just above the second node and wait a few weeks in the hope of a second round of fabulous flowers.”
- This variety is one of the best flowers to grow inside and will flower all year round. It can adapt to low light conditions.
2. Peace Lily
The peace lily, or Spathiphyllum is recommend by Tom and is a hardy, robust indoor plant that likes a bright room but can adapt to t’s surroundings. Only water when the foliage begins to wilt.
- This is one of the best indoor flowering plants for low light and produces a beautiful white flower. It can adapt to low light conditions.
1. African violet
The African violet, or Saintpaulia, are picky about their soil, so ensure you pick up a suitable one made with peat moss, vermiculte and perlite from a nursery. Water with lukewarm or tepid water that was allowed to stand for 48 hours, and always water at the base and never splash the foliage with water; just a drop can cause foliar spots and damage. Fertilize regularly and pinch off old blooms to encourage fresh growth.