Many of us will have given or received houseplants over the festive period which as well as the ubiquitous Christmas poinsettia (which featured in one of my pre-Christmas articles) will frequently include indoor flowering plants such as indoor cyclamen and phalaenopsis orchids.Indoor flowering plants do not need to be seen as disposable and with a little bit of attention they can survive, re-flower and even thrive, brightening up a room in your house for many years to come and in doing so ensuring you remember the family member or friend who gave you the plant to help your friendship grow!
In this article I’ll share a few simple tips in caring for these houseplants ensuring they continue to flower year on year.
Hardy cyclamen are one of those lovely woodland plants which add colour with their delicate graceful flowers through the cold winter months. Their indoor cousins though not quite as hardy as the outdoor varieties do still prefer cooler rooms and are ideal for an unheated conservatory or an enclosed front porch. Indoor cyclamen will usually have larger blooms than outdoor cyclamen. Indoor cyclamen can flower for several months and to encourage repeat flowering throughout the winter old faded blooms should be removed with a twist and sharp pull so as to avoid leaving any stem behind which may rot. Talking about rot, cyclamen are very susceptible to this disease and many more are killed by over watering than under watering. Once your indoor cyclamen has stopped producing new blooms tidy back any dead or yellowing foliage and decrease watering to a minimum during its dormancy period in the summer months. Following these procedures with any luck should allow your cyclamen to flower again next winter.
One of if not the most popular indoor flowering houseplant gift in the UK, many house keepers view the “moth orchid” (so called not because it attracts moths but due to the exotic moth shaped flowers it produces) as a long lasting cut flower which can be unceremoniously binned once its flowers have faded and died. This need not be so and with a little attention the can be made to repeat flower and give you the owner the unique thrill of getting one of the most exotic flowering house plants to come to life again.
Once the flower have faded cut back the flowering stem or stems about 2 or 3 inches to a healthy node. Keep the orchid in a cool but not cold position and water once a week with about an egg cup of water. After a couple of months your orchid should start to put out new buds and eventually reward your patience with a stunning set of new flowers.