Tropical Houseplants have been popular for ages, and no wonder! With so many colours, textures, and even fragrances, everyone can have their own personal “jungle” in their homes and offices. Belgian’s Tropical House has a wide selection of different types and sizes of tropicals, including hanging baskets, small pots, orchids, and bonsai. From bright and sunny rooms to low light corners, there is a houseplant for every space!
Houseplants can provide your living area with clean air and lush green life all year long, which is especially helpful during our long winters. And many varieties can help improve the air quality in a room by naturally removing airborn toxins while adding oxygen through photosynthesis. Caring for living things, such as plants, can also play a role in stress relief and many home gardeners use it as a form of meditation. For a listing of the best plants for cleaning the air in your home, please see below.
If you’re just discovering an interest in houseplants, we’re more than happy to help you find an easy care plant that’s right for both your lighting conditions and lifestyle. Some good introductory varieties include Pothos, Philodendron, Dracaena, Snake Plant, Peace Lily, and Chinese Evergreen. These low-maintenance plants can adapt to a wide range of conditions, and are excellent for new and novice plant lovers to build up both their plant-care knowledge and confidence. For more experienced green-thumbs, we have a wide and ever-changing selection of exotic “statement” varieties to add to your collection, including Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Ficus, Mandevilla, Bonsai, and Jasmine.
Thanks to Belgian’s large and heated Tropical greenhouses, we can help you with your houseplant needs all year long! Shipments of tropical houseplants arrive weekly, though not all plants are available at all times and availability changes constantly. Defrost in the warmth of our Tropical Greenhouse during the winter and find the perfect piece of tropical paradise for your home and office!
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Success with Tropical Houseplants – Care & Tips
Click Here to Download our Tropical Houseplant Care Pamphlet!
Plants, like people, thrive and stay healthy in ideal locations but can also adapt to less than ideal situations. Growing requirements for your plants such as light, water, temperature, soil, nutrients and humidity must be kept in balance to keep your plant happy and thriving.
Stress for a plant can be one thing, or a combination of many things. A move to a new location, being repotted, watering too often (kept too wet), drying out too much between waterings, not enought water to moisten all the soil when watered (kept too dry), sitting in water, not enough light, temperature fluctuations (warm days and cool nights), lack of humidity, etc. When plants are under stress they can drop leaves and are susceptible to insects and diseases.
In low light conditions plants drop their leaves to balance with the amount of light available. Plants usually require less water when grown in lower light locations, or during winter months when light levels are reduced.
Sometimes plants do well in environments that are “not recommended.” If your plant is happy where it is, it is usually best to leave it alone. However, if you are having concerns or problems with your plant, it is advised to make some changes.
All plants have a lifespan; even with the proper care, light, water and plant food, a plant can still die.
- Avoid hot or cold drafts, such as an unheated sunroom in winter, near heat registers and open doors.
- When misting, mist in the morning to ensure leaves are dry overnight.
- Do not use machine-softened water to water plants. This will leave a buildup of salts and will slowly kill your plants.
- When using insecticides or fungicides, avoid spraying when the sun is out as this may cause damage to your plants.
- Turning plants that are against a wall or in a corner is beneficial and ensures even light distribution to the whole plant.
- When transplanting, it is always best to choose a pot that has drainage. This will help keep the plant from sitting in water.
Light: Houseplants require different amounts of light depending on the variety. High light plants will require as much light as possible during the shorter days in winter. Plants that can grow in low light can also be excellent choices for medium to bright light if introduced slowly into brighter conditions; however, plants that require direct light generally do not do well in lower light locations. When placing your plants, keep in mind that curtains or sheers greatly reduce the amount of light for that area – the use of sheers turns a high light location into a low light area.
- Low Light: Indirect light. Usually North, Northeast windows. Also a room interior or any window with closed sheers.
- Medium Light: A bright location with indirect light. East window with morning sun, West window with evening sun or slightly away from a South window.
- Direct Light: Bright, sunny direct light. Close to a window facing South or West. Three hours or more of sun daily. In summer these areas receive hot and intense sun.
Watering: It is important to understand the watering needs of your plants. Always drain excess water away. Plants left to sit in water can develop root rot. Incorrect watering practices are the #1 reason for most plant problems. During the summer months plants may need to be watered more frequently; in winter months plants do not dry out as fast and need less frequent watering.
The best way to water is from the top of the pot, letting the water soak through to the bottom and then draining the excess away.
Never use machine-softened water to water plants. This will leave a buildup of salt and will slowly kill your plants.
- Evenly Moist: Keep soil moist. Never let dry out completely. Do not let sit in water.
- Water Well: Allow soil to dry slightly then water well until some water runs though the bottom.
- Dry Well: Water only every 10 to 20 days or once a month, depending on pot size.
Misting: Some plants prefer a slightly higher humidity than found in most homes: Ferns, Orchids, Ficus, Citrus and Hibiscus are some that enjoy the extra humidity. Mist plants with water once or twice a day to help increase the humidity. Avoid misting plants with fuzzy leaves such as African Violets and Begonias, as well as dry loving plants like Cacti and Succulents.
Fertilizer: It is best to fertilize most houseplants once a month year-round, excluding Cacti and Succulents. Use an all-purpose food for foliage plants; to help promote flowers, use a flowering plant food instead. Some plants may not flower during the fall and winter months due to lower light conditions.
Pruning: Some plants such as Hibiscus, Ficus and Ivies require occasional pruning to maintain a full, nicely shaped plant. Pruning is best done in spring and late fall, when the plants are adjusting to a new season’s arrival; your new branches will grow from wherever the stem is cut. Dracaena (all types), Dieffenbachia and Chinese Evergreen can all be cut back if they are too tall, though they may take some time to send out their new branches. Regular cleaning and removal of old dying leaves on all plants is very beneficial.
Repotting: Most houseplants prefer to be root bound, with lots of roots in the pot. Use a good quality indoor potting soil when repotting your plants; for Cacti and Succulents, use a cactus soil mix.
When your plant needs to be repotted there should be many roots and not much soil visible when taken out of the pot. When you transplant, move up only one pot size at a time: a 4” pot to a 5” pot, or a 10” pot to a 12” pot. Add a little soil to the bottom of the new pot if needed, then add soil around the sides to keep soil levels even.
If you put your plant in too big of a pot it will not dry out fast enough and will most likely rot your plant. It is always best to choose a pot that has drainage.
Taking Houseplants Outdoors for Summer
If you choose to place your houseplants outdoors for the summer, it is only safe for them when the overnight temperature is above 10°C (50°F). This is normally around June 15th until September 1st.
When placing your plants outdoors be sure to slowly adjust them to the sun or they may get sunburnt. Place them in a shady spot and slowly increase the amount of sun they receive over a 1-2 week period.
Extra outdoor care is required. Plants will dry out faster and need water more frequently. However, root rot can occur if we have a rainy season.
Plants will adjust again when they are brought indoors, usually by dropping their leaves. Pruning will help with the adjustment and give your plants a nice full shape; misting the leaves during these stressful times will help as well. Many choose to keep their houseplants indoors and enjoy their beauty every day.
Clean Air Plants
Houseplants are a great way to beautify a room. Not only do they provide a natural living component to your home and office spaces, but they also help clean the air. Having good indoor air quality is very important, especially in the colder winter months when many of us spend much of our time inside.
NASA first demonstrated air cleaning plants in a two-year study during the late 1980s. At the time they were looking for houseplants to help clean the air in space stations.
At Belgian we recommend the following easy care plants to help clean the air in your homes and offices. Have fun and breathe well with these wonderful plants!
- Spider plant
- Golden pothos
- Peace lily
- Chinese evergreen
- Snake plant
- Dracaena Marginata
- Corn Plant
- Janet Craig
- Dracaena Warneckii