When buying houseplants, there are so many foliage options to go for, with large leaved Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant) or fantastic fronds of Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston fern). However, there are many flowering houseplants that can add an extra burst of joy and colour to your space through the year. To elongate the cheer, here are some houseplants with long lasting flowers.
Spathiphyllum (peace lily)
First is a strong contender as a favourite houseplant. They bring a pure and calming feel to the atmosphere with the white bracts that contrast with the dark green foliage. These bracts can be mistaken for flowers, but the flowers are the spadix, which is the small spike of flowers that has a yellowish tinge to it.
Peace lilies can bloom twice a year if they’re healthy. One of these times is in spring, and the other in autumn. The blooms can stick around for a month or two each time, meaning you’ll have white bracts for many months of the year. The flowers will begin to turn brown, when they can be deadheaded.
To increase the likelihood of blooms, ensure the plant is in a spot with access to bright but indirect sunlight for at least a few hours each day.
To flower, they aren’t overly hungry plants, so don’t need feeding very regularly. However, to encourage blooms in spring, feed with a balanced liquid houseplant fertiliser from late winter once every 6 weeks.
Another thing to bear in mind to keep the plant healthy overall is that they are tropical plants, so appreciate high humidity. Increase the humidity by regularly misting the plant, or place the pot on a tray of gravel and water.
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (flaming Katy)
Kalanchoes are pretty easy to care for as they are succulents which means they don’t demand much water, making them great for busy households. They have wonderfully bright flowers that can be found in yellow, red, orange, white and pink.
The plants will be in flower when you buy them, try to get one with a few buds so you have more blooms to look forward to. The flowers can last for around 8 weeks, but don’t be tempted to discard the plant once flowering is done. Instead, deadhead the flowers as they die, which may encourage more. Then when flowering is completely done, there are a few care tips to put into action to encourage it to flower again.
To flower repeatedly, the Kalanchoe needs a period of time with short days and long nights. So you need to simulate these conditions by giving them 8-9 hours of daylight for a month.
For the rest of the time, they can be placed in a dark cupboard so they can produce buds. Then, water the plant occasionally, and within 2-3 months there should be new buds. At this time, normal care can be resumed with watering and feeding.
Streptocarpus (Cape primrose)
To get long lasting flowers from Cape primroses, there are a few things to have on your checklist. The position of this plant is vital for the best growth. It needs bright, indirect light otherwise mould and root rot can become an issue. Similarly, these are reasons to water only once the top couple of centimetres of compost have dried out.
Through spring and summer, feed with a houseplant fertiliser. Then, when the flowers are in bloom, change to a houseplant feed that’s higher in potassium to encourage and elongate the time period of flowering.
One thing to remember is that Streptocarpus are sensitive to the length of light and day. If they don’t get enough light, they won’t bloom. They also need a period of dormancy, which can be done by ensuring the plant is still in a bright spot, but with reduced watering, temperature, and fertilising to just once a month through autumn and winter.
If the plant is producing flowers but they aren’t lasting very long, this could be due to humidity levels being too low. As mentioned above, increase humidity by placing the plant on a tray filled with gravel and water. With Cape primroses it’s best to not mist the plant because it can lead the flowers to develop a disease which will impact your plant.
Anthurium (flamingo flower)
Did you know that anthurium flowers are some of the longest lasting on the planet. So, by having flamingo flowers within your home, you’ll have bright colour for months to come. The heart-shaped bracts, like the peace lily, are commonly thought to be the flowers. The spadix of flowers is yellow-green and are protected by these red spathes.
The wonderful thing about Anthurium is that they bloom at approximately 3 monthly intervals. Keep blooms coming back by deadheading spent flowers to encourage the energy of the plant back into producing more. Bright, indirect light is best for blooms too, as direct sunlight can cause the flowers to wilt and die.
Like the plants above, Anthurium will perform best with higher levels of humidity, so daily misting is ideal. Alternative ways are with a gravel tray or a humidifier during the cooler months.
Indoor gardening has so much to offer, from a new set of skills and routine for your daily life, and a way to bring some beauty and greenery into your home. With these houseplants with long lasting flowers, you’ll have that extra bit of colour through the year. For more tips on indoor gardening, check out My Houseplant Changed My Life.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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