Choose houseplants that do more than just clean the air. Some have brightly colored blooms and even produce fruit!
If you are looking for tropical plants that can easily be grown in a typical home or office setting, here are two suggestions for tropical plants that are not only easy to grow but do extremely well indoors.
The first plant is the Banana which is part of the Musa genus. Available in both large and dwarf varieties, Bananas require lots of water and light to thrive, but this can be accomplished indoors. Brown leaves are usually an indication that the plant is lacking in one of these requirements. Allow dying leaves to fall off naturally instead of cutting them off.
When growing this plant indoors, provide frequent misting or keep a humidifier close to the plant. A natural method for humidity is to cluster plants together. Small pebbles covered in water and placed in the bottom of a saucer under the plant also increases humidity.
Bananas prefer bright light, so supplement traditional indoor lighting with grow lights preferably aimed directly at the banana. Another option is to place your plant in or near a window.
Fruit From Container Grown Bananas
Most Bananas require two years of being in the exact spot, grown under the exact same conditions before they begin to flower, so be aware that getting the plant to produce bananas will take some patience.
Frequent fertilization is recommended. Increase the amount of fertilizer during the summer months. The fertilizer should be high in nitrogen.
Propagation of bananas can be done either by dividing the pups which is the easiest way or by sowing fresh seeds. Fresh seeds can take up to nine months to germinate.
Bananas are very exotic looking and even if you don’t get yours to fruit, the leaves can be used in many culinary creations.
Grow an Exotic Bird-Of-Paradise
A second, easy to grow tropical plant is the Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise. Hailing from South Africa, Strelitzia is cultivated worldwide. The most common, Strelitzia Reginae, is a rapid grower that reaches four feet high and spreads in clumps.
The Strelitzia Nicolai, commonly called the “White Bird Of Paradise,” can grow up to fifteen feet high. Its leaves are often mistaken for those of a Banana. The white variety is the most commonly cultivated variety.
The exotic blooms resemble a large, brightly colored tropical bird hence the name Bird of Paradise. The botanical name “Strelitzia” honors England’s Queen Charlotte Sophia, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who was the consort of King George III, a patron of botany.
These plants prefer bright light and soil that is deep, loamy, well-drained and fertile.
In the spring when new growth appears increase the water. Fertilize the plant with one teaspoon of ammonium sulphate per gallon of water during the warm months every time the plant is watered. A 20/10/20 time release fertilizer can be used as well.
The Bird of Paradise will only bloom when mature and must be root bound in its pot. This could take two years or longer. Expect blooms anywhere from September through April once the plant it has at least ten leaves.
After the blooms have faded, cut the flower stem down as far as possible. The plants should bloom on a yearly basis once they start.
The Bird Of Paradise is commonly attacked by scale. Treat this problem by spraying the plant with ultra-fine horticultural oil or remove the scale by hand.
Propagation of this plant is done by dividing the old specimen or by sowing fresh seeds. The seeds are very slow to germinate. Soak and prick the seeds prior to planting.