Flower Gardening

Seven Easy Tropical Houseplants

By Darren Sherriff


Recall the Jack Nicolson film, ‘Seven Easy Pieces’? Well, this is an article about seven easy tropical houseplants. OK, so not exactly the same thing. While these seven tropicals may not be as entertaining as the film, they will enhance any indoor living space and they  have more lasting health benefits. Now, before you say anything about having a brown thumb, not to worry. I’ve selected this group of tropicals because they are impervious to the mistakes (and even neglect).

 

An Indoor Plant Starter List

Corn PlantDracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ is a flowering plant species that is native throughout tropical Africa. No relation to the corn plant that produces corn on the cob, this plant does however produce a main stem with long green, or variegated leaves. It is considered one of the best houseplants for beginners. It thrives in a bright spot, but it will tolerate a low-light situation extremely well. It’s just that it will grow more slowly and may show less of the lime-green variegation. You will want to allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out between waterings. If it has droopy yellow leaves that is a sign of it suffering from root rot (too much water!). Since it is slow-growing it likely won’t need to be repotted more than every three years. Additionally, Corn Plant is one of the top rated plants for health because it is really good at removing indoor air toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene (a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries) and toluene.

Aloe VeraAloe spp. is a well-known houseplant because of its various health benefits, especially for treating minor burns. It’s another good air cleanser, too. Aloe Vera grows wild in tropical climates around the world. It likes the bright lights like many of the other houseplants so it can be given direct sunlight. The Aloe is a member of the succulent family, which means that its leaves are able to retain water (similar to cactus). Aloe Vera requires very little watering, especially in the winter. However, check the soil occasionally to make sure it doesn’t become bone dry.

                          Aloe Vera – photo by Darren Sheriff

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