The Best of Hothouse Flowers

There is a difference between greenhouses and hothouses. Greenhouses are typically unheated structures used to start plants early, while hothouses are artificially heated structures that remain at a constant temperature year-round. While a greenhouse may be used to start tender annuals such as petunias or impatiens, hothouses will be used to grow houseplants and tropical flowers that require year-round warmth.

Orchids

It is difficult to describe the typical orchid, because orchids are among the most varied flowers in the world. Orchids are found in every corner of the planet from glaciers to the tropics. The majority of orchids may be found in the tropics. Most commercially grown orchids require low light and high humidity. Easy-to-care for varieties, such as Phalaenopsis, will thrive in about 90 percent shade and temperatures that range between 60 and 75 degrees F. In a hothouse, care should be given to keep orchids well below their maximum temperature. Orchids will burn if left for 2 hours in temperatures of 110 degrees F, and 10 minutes at 120 degrees F.

Bird of Paradise

The Bird of Paradise, which is also known as the crane plant, is a distant cousin of the banana tree. It comes from South Africa and is frequently included in cut flower arrangements for its exotic shape, which resembles a crane's head with a bright orange crest. In the hothouse, the plant grows in 5 foot tall clumps with leathery, upright leafstalks that are 6 inches wide and 18 inches long. The leaves are evergreen and do not shed seasonally. In the warm tropical climates of Florida, this plant is a popular focal point landscape plant, and is often planted around swimming pools because it will not drop vegetation into the water.

Anthuriums

Anthuriums are a genius of flowering plant native to tropical South America with more than 800 species in the family. The species has an incredible variation in appearance and descriptive flower names such as cockscomb, flamingo lily, tailflower, Hawaiian love plant and tongue of fire. Although many people have seen flamingo lily anthuriums in cut flower arrangements, they may not have been aware of it. Flamingo lily anthuriums are typically used in exotic cut flower arrangements along with orchids and Birds of Paradise. The petals of the flamingo lily are flat and lily pad shaped, with a prominent stamen.

Keywords: growing tropical flowers, raising orchids, flamingo flower, Bird of Paradise

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."