Brighten up your home during the bleak winter months with window boxes, containers and pots filled with colourful plants — and pretend that Spring is already here.
The range of plants that will bloom indoors in the Winter months is surprising.
Some are genuine winter-flowering plants, others are really spring-flowering plants which are encouraged to bloom half a season early, either by the warmer conditions indoors or by controlling the number of daylight hours.
I have focused on a few plants that will flower during the Winter, and listed several more, so fill your windowsills with bright blooms at a time when cheerful colour has the most impact.
AZALEA (Azalea indica)
These beautiful plants are available in a wide range of colours. They normally flower from May to July, provided they have the light location that all flowering plants relish. Their second most important requirement is that roots should never be without water. Keep thoroughly wet by plunging the pot into a tub of water at room temperature, whenever the base of the main stem turns brown, which should be every two or three days. The pot should be immersed until all the air bubbles from the soil have escaped.
The plants should be placed in a good position away from direct heat. The best room temperature is between 10 degC and 15 degC.
Maintain a humid atmosphere around the opening flower buds by spraying regularly with clean water. Once the cold months have passed azaleas can be left out in the garden in partial shade. They should be watered and fed regularly with a weak feed. In colder climates they should be brought indoors in about mid-April and should never be left outdoors in frosty weather.
CINERAREA (Senecia Hybrida / Senecia cruenta)
These bold winter flowering annuals are usually sold in pots ready to bloom. The daisy –shaped blooms are in dazzling colours which include red, blue, mauve and purple.
They need regular feeding from mid-Autumn, and flower best in a position where they get morning sun. They are one of the very few plants that do best if they are watered every day. Cinerarias should never be allowed to become dry at the roots, for once these plants wilt they rarely revive completely. If they wilt soak the pot and contents in a basin of water for 30 minutes.
Give occasional weak feeds during the flowering season and plants should continue to flower for several weeks. Humidity will help to prolong the flowering period. Discard the plants after flowering.
TEN MORE PLANTS THAT WILL FLOWER INDOORS DURING WINTER
- Daffodil (Narcissus)
- Cyclamen (Primulaceae)
- Begonias (Begonia Elatior)
- African violets (Saintpaulia)
- Camellias (Theaceae)
- Crocus (Iridaceae)
- Blue sage (Eranthemum pulchellum)
- Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum insigne)
- Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
- Kalanchoe (Blossfeldiana)