Flowering Houseplants for Winter Color

Not all of the Southwest has warm gardening weather in January; in fact, many areas have freezing nights and ample snow — enough for skiing! If you long for the brightness of flowers in you life, don’t wait until spring. Head over to your local nursery, florist, or even supermarket for some flowering houseplants.

Flamingo flower may bloom for months in our desert homes.

Southwestern Homes have Low Humidity

As you shop – remember this – our Southwestern homes have low humidity.  Especially if you are a beginner, skip the moisture-loving African violet or Cape primrose. Also skip the hydrangeas, begonias, and jasmines. They all have lovely flowers but have special needs in our area. Go for the houseplants that tolerate the 5 to 25 percent humidity in our Southwestern homes. There are a number of low-humidity houseplants, and below is a short list to get you started.

Peace lily is one of the top plants for cleaning toxic compounds released from carpeting and furniture out of household air.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) tops the list, with white flowers. It is also tops at cleaning pollutants out of indoor air.

Flamingo flower (Anthurium), is related to peace lily but comes in shades of pink, red, and white. They may bloom year round.

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe) comes in many species and colors – just have care to not overwater them.

Blue ginger (Dichorisandra) is hard to find, but worth the hunt. I mean, blue flowers!

Flying goldfish plant (Columnea) works well as a hanging plant, available in shades of orange and yellow.

Jungle geranium (Ixora), in a wealth of vibrant and pastel colors, is not in the geranium family at all.

Ixora comes in many different colors.

Many houseplants will flower, but they are not grown primarily for their flowers. This list includes long-time favorites like spider plants, sanseverias (snake plant, mother-in-law’s-tongue), and dracenas (dragon tree, corn plant).

Spider plants may bloom, especially in our rich Southwestern light.

Help Your Houseplants Flower with Fertilizer

To keep your flowering houseplants flowering, lightly fertilize every 6 to 8 weeks. Half-strength fertilizer is better than too much. Use an organic fertilizer that provides the trace nutrients, and helps build soil, like guano, or use a slow-release fertilizer. Whichever fertilizer you use, be sure it has ample phosphorous to encourage flowers.

We hope you will try some of these indoor beauties and brighten your winter with flowering houseplants!  Learn more in our online course “Houseplants for the Southwest,” which will remain available on our “Classes” page for a limited time.

Kalanchoe is a good plant to bring to people who have allergies. The blooms have no scent.

If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my gardening presentations. Check our “Events” page for locations and times. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press, $26). (If you click on this link it takes you to Amazon and we earn a few pennies)
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