Plants - Indoor Plants

Exotic Indoor Plants

Add a tropical touch to indoor living spaces

The winner

Silver Vase Plant (Aechmea fasciata)

The elegantly beautiful silver vase plant is not only exotic-looking, but easy-care, too. In fact, this member of the bromeliad family (with such diverse relatives as Spanish moss and pineapples) thrives on neglect, and will display its brilliant pink bracts and blue flowers for up to four months. Even when not in bloom, its leathery, silver-green, saw-toothed foliage remains an attractive sight.

In a room kept between 15 and 25˚C, place the silver vase plant in a bright window away from direct sun (or summer outdoors in sun or part shade). Water sparingly into the centre of the leaves, allowing moisture to slowly trickle into the soil; don't overwater. Keep humidity high by grouping plants together or setting on a shallow dish of pebbles and water.

After the blooming period, the mother plant (which grows to 50 cm tall x 60 cm wide) will slowly die, leaving several offshoots at its base. Remove them with a sharp knife when they reach half the size of the mother plant and repot in a moist but well-drained houseplant soil; care for them the same way you would the mother plant.

Honourable mentions

‘Raspberry Ice' Variegated Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea x buttiana ‘Raspberry Ice' (a.k.a. ‘Hawaii')
Height 60 cm to 1 m vine
Spread 1 to 2 m Location full sun Cultivation moist, well-drained, peat moss-based tropical soil Flowers raspberry magenta, papery bracts Foliage medium green interior, creamy yellow edge.

Gardenia (Gardenia augusta )
Height 1.5 m Spread 1.5 m
Location part shade Cultivation moist, well-drained, acidic soil; night temperatures must be below 12˚C to bloom
Flowers ivory, waxy, highly fragrant Foliage glossy, deep green, evergreen Zone 8 (some hardy to –18˚C).

Frangipani (Plumeria rubra)
Height 5 m Spread 2 m Location full sun Cultivation moist, well-drained soil; reduce watering during winter to induce dormancy Flowers fragrant, white, yellow, pink, red and coral; long-blooming, summer through fall Foliage dark green, leathery; poisonous sap .

Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)

Ethiopian Banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii' (a.k.a. ‘Rubrum')

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

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