Q. What are some flowering plants that I can grown in my apartment? I want plants that bloom easily in low light.
Levels of light are a critical issue for houseplants. Generally speaking, foliage plants tend to need bright light but do not require direct sunlight. Variegated plants tend to need more light than non-variegated plants. Flowering plants, cacti and other succulents need some direct sunlight.
Household light varies in intensity, depending on the season and the exposure. South-facing windows provide the most light: direct sunlight within 2 to 3 feet of the window; bright, indirect sunlight up to 5 feet from the window; and semi-shade up to 8 feet away from the window. East and west-facing windows provide some direct light up to 3 feet and indirect light up to 5 feet away. East windows get sun in the morning, west in the afternoon. North-facing windows provide semi-shade up to 5 feet away.
Light intensity changes with the season. Plants that fare well in a southern exposure during the winter may have to be moved to an east- or north-facing window in summer when the light is more intense. Most plants grow toward sunlight, so remember to rotate the pots ¼ turn every few weeks so that the plants will grow evenly.
Even if there are no natural light sources available, many plants will survive with other sources of light. Light can come from indirect sunlight or artificial lights specifically designed for growing plants.
Signs that plants are not getting enough light:
- Leaves are smaller than normal.
- Leaves are pale.
- Plant exhibits leggy growth.
- Lower leaves yellow and fall off.
- Variegated leaves turn green.
- Plant doesn't flower.
Some houseplants that fare well in low light situations include Chamaedorea (parlor palm), Spathiphyllum (peace lily), Aspidistra (cast-iron plant), Davallia (rabbit's foot fern), Philodendron scandens (heartleaf philodendron) and Streptocarpus (Cape primrose). All are great additions to a home but only Spathiphyllum and Streptocarpus will provide you with notable flowers.
Temperature is an important issue closely associated with light. Most houseplants do best when grown at 65 to 75°F in the daytime and 55 to 65°F at night. Many houseplants require a temperature drop of 10°from day to night. Some plants need this drop to induce flowering.
Your house is full of microclimates. Locations near windows may be sunny during the winter, but they are also cool (10°colder than the middle of the room). In the summer, a south-facing window can get too hot for plants. Open the window to let air circulate, or invest in a sheer curtain to block the heat and intense rays of the summer sun. Investigate your home's microclimates in order to put your plants in the best spots.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service
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