Houseplants: Flowering Beauties

Many outdoor flowering plants, including miniature Roses, Hydrangeas, Mums And Azaleas, can be brought indoors where, with proper water and light, they will stay in bloom for a week or more. But eventually the blooms wither and the plants go back outside or are thrown away. A few plants, however, grow well indoors year-round and bloom over and over again.

Here are five of the very best:

Chenille Plant (Acalypha hispida) produces fuzzy, long, red, cattail-like blooms that dangle from the ends of the branches. It grows best in bright light and high humidity – great for a sunny kitchen window.

Bromeliads are tubular, succulent plants that produce tall spikes of dazzling flowers. There are many types to choose from, some with brightly-colored foliage. They grow in bright, indirect light, in loose soil kept on the dry side. Some are epiphytes (they grow naturally in the bark of trees) and can be grown on pieces of wood, cork or dried branches.

African Violets (Saintpaulia) are dainty plants with fuzzy leaves and beautiful clusters of white, red, pink or purple blooms. They prefer bright, indirect light, even moisture, and regular fertilizer.

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) is a cascading plant with dangling succulent branches tipped with bright rosy red blooms around Christmas. It blooms best with bright, indirect light and long, cool nights in November. Fertilize and water regularly.

Spathiphyllums are sometimes called Peace Lilies and are one of the most reliable blooming houseplants. The shiny, dark green leaves are topped by stunning bright white blooms with a strong tropical feel. Some types are small plants, just 1-2 feet high; others can reach heights of up to 6 feet. The taller the plant, the bigger the blooms. Flowers best in bright, indirect light but will do well in low light. Water regularly and fertilize often.

Each of these flowering houseplants has its own requirements when it comes to blooming, but most will do best with bright, indirect light like you'd find near (but not directly in the sun) a west- or south-facing window. Keep plants away from cold drafts and maintain vigorous growth with regular water and fertilizer.