Do you like the classic red and green color scheme but feel ready to mix it up a bit? We tend to think of poinsettias as the only option for indoor plants to decorate our homes during the Holidays but a trip to Molbak’s nursery this week showed me several other options for adding a splash of red.
Anthurium – Christmas goes tropical!
This is an easy care, long lived houseplant. The most popular variety has big waxy ‘flowers’ in a brilliant Christmasy red, each one with a central yellow spike although there are also pink, white and salmon varieties available. Large heart shaped leaves complete the tropical touch. Just to get our terminology correct, what we consider a red flower is actually a spathe (a type of bract) and the spike is called a spadix which is covered with the true flowers in a dense spiral. So now you know
Light – Bright indirect light is best
Water - allow to dry between watering
Humidity – anthurium grows in the landscape in tropical zone 10 so it is no surprise that it does best with higher levels of humidity. Stand on a saucer of gravel and mist daily.
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
Large, waxy dark green leaves form a rosette above which large clusters of vivid flowers nestle. Each flower is only 1/4″ diameter but the clusters can be 4″ or more across. Scarlet red blends are a great choice for this time of year but they are available in shades of orange, yellow and white too. There are both single and double flower forms but in all cases these flowering plants grow as a low mound 10″ high or less. Native to Madagascar.
Light – bright, indirect light
Water – allow to dry slightly between watering
Humidity – average
Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
I could grow these just for the foliage. The heart shaped green leaves are marbled or distinctly patterned with silvery-white and the flowers are typically pink, white or red although I also saw plenty in a deep magenta/burgundy shade this year. The stems are usually dark too, adding another layer of color to this already beautiful plant.
Light – bright indirect light
Water – water from the base when dry to the touch. Allow to dry between watering
Humidity – Average
Note; keep in a cool spot
This is the plant that keeps on growing…and growing…and growing, often passed down to family members and given to friends. This old fashioned favorite never seems to actually go out of fashion.
The draping branches of segmented succulent foliage have little ornamental value until they start to bloom; that’s when it’s really ready for the Christmas party! Festooned with layered tubular flowers in red, pink or a bi-color this is a plant that packs a lot of color into its pot.
Light – Bright indirect light
Water – keep on the dry side
Humidity – above average so set on a tray of gravel and mist occasionally
Note; keep away from the front door, fireplaces and heating vents
So venture beyond poinsettia-land at the nursery. You’ll also find bromeliads and amaryllis to tempt you!