The Best Flowering House Plants

Flowering houseplants provide attractive green foliage year round, but seasonal flushes of colorful blossoms brighten the various seasons. Some choices bloom almost year round, while others flower during a certain month. Very bright indirect light is generally needed at a minimum to promote flower bud development, but in winter two to four hours of some direct sunlight are beneficial. A good flower-inducing liquid fertilizer provides phosphorus in a mild formula like 5-10-5 analysis.

African Violets

Velvety green leaves surround a cluster of small, starry flowers for months on end on any of the hundreds of varieties of African violets (Saintpaulia spp.). Not temperamental but easy to grow, these little plants appreciate very bright indirect light, high humidity and evenly moist soil.

Begonias

There is vast diversity in begonias for use as a flowering houseplant, but often cane-types or angel-wing begonias, Reiger or wax begonias are favored. These tropical, fleshy stemmed and leafy plants also like bright indirect light but a moist soil that dries slightly before watering. Tuberous begonias are also good houseplants, but need a short winter dormancy.

Flame Violet

Flame violets (Episcia spp.) often have colorful burgundy, rust, or silvery green leaves on their sprawling stems and yellow, blue or scarlet flowers . These plants work nicely in hanging baskets or in pots atop stands.

Geraniums

As a flowering plant for a sunny window, the geranium (Pelargonium spp.) may be perfect. With fan-shaped leaves that may have zonal bands of rust or burgundy-brown tones, some varieties are ivy-like in habit. All produce baseball-sized clusters of flowers on long stems.

Lipstick Vine

Appreciating warmth and bright morning sunlight, lipstick vine (Aeschynanthus spp.) bears flower buds that look like a tube of lipstick and display scarlet to orange tubular flowers. Grow this shrubby small vine in a hanging basket or pot set on a plant stand.

Orchids

If you crave the exotic look and beauty of orchids, focus your energies on moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.), which are among the easiest orchids to grow in the lower light levels of the house. If you successfully grow African violets, try tropical ladyslipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp. and Phragmipedium spp.).

Gloxinias

Closely related to African violets, gloxinias (Sinningia spp.) bear velvety green leaves and produce large, frilly, bell-shaped blooms for months. Gloxinias need an evenly moist soil, high humidity and bright indirect light, except in midwinter when direct sunshine is necessary.

Kalanchoes

Florist kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a tough little succulent plant that bears hundreds of small flowers that are yellow, orange, red, orange, white or pink. It flowers better in short-day months, from fall to spring.

Amaryllis

Although we associate amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.) with the winter holidays, these large bulbs with strappy green leaves naturally tend to bloom in spring and early summer. Old, massive bulbs can produce multiple flower stalks.

Keywords: flowering house plants, begonias, African violets, gloxinias, lipstick vine, geraniums

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.