Resorting to Tropicals for Houseplants

Create your own tropical paradise with these exotic houseplants. However, in their native lands these tropical plants have jobs to do.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe calathea roseo-picta offers alternating green colors on the top side of the leaves with reddish-purple undersides.
(Calathea roseo-picta)

Calathea comes in a variety of foliage colors. Calathea roseo-picta offers alternating green colors on the top side of the leaves with reddish-purple undersides. In addition to being a lovely houseplant, it has also been used traditionally as an herbal medicine. "Leaves boiled in water are used as a medicine to treat mouth sores," says Coelho.

A common issue when growing calathea is its tendency to have browning leaf tips and edges. This is caused by a sensitivity to fluoride and salts in regular tap water. It can be remedied by providing high humidity (mist or set plants on a moist pebble tray, especially in the dry heat during wintertime) and watering plants with distilled water or rain water. Keep soil moist and place plants in bright, indirect light.

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