Add Tropical Flower Power to Your Home

Create a vacation atmosphere in your home with vibrant tropical flowers. They provide colorful contrasts to cool, contemporary interiors, and many bloom for months.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
Tropical Plants have Colorful Blooms that Last How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Bright Bracts

Like colorful neon lights, vibrant bromeliad flowers and bracts make a bold statement that can't be ignored. To show off these peacocks of the houseplant world to full effect, present them against a clean, simple backdrop, such as a white windowsill. The bright bracts of most bromeliads last for many months, and the flowers peep out between or above them.

Pour Water into Central Cup of Vriesea How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Survival Strategy

Most bromeliads, including Guzmania, Tillandsia, and Vriesea, love the warmth of a heated home but suffer if the humidity is low. Plant them in free-draining soil and water them regularly when they're actively growing, reducing the frequency in winter. Don't overwater bromeliads because soggy soil can kill them. To provide humidity, mist them once or twice a week with soft water or rainwater, applied at room temperature.

Water With Care
When watering Vriesea, pour into the central cup formed by the rosette of leaves. Also water the soil to keep it moist.

Mist Leaves of Tillandsia with Liquid Fertilizer How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Feeding Tillandsia

Tillandsia has few roots and clings to trees in its natural habitat, absorbing water and nutrients through its leaves. Provide similar conditions by misting the leaves once a month with a quarter-strength balanced liquid fertilizer, ideally diluted with rainwater.

Persian Queen Violet is Fragrant House Plant How To Grow Practically Everything ©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

Long-Lasting Blooms, Long-Lasting Color

For prolonged flower power, African violets, which come in many colors, can bloom almost all year. Other good choices include the orange-flowered dwarf pomegranate, statuesque lantana and plumbago, with its blue summer flowers.

Persian Queen
Masses of tiny fragrant blue flowers adorn the Persian violet for many months from spring and throughout the summer.

Other Plant Options
Hibiscus
Kalanchoe
Persian violet (Exacum affine)

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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