5 Plants With a Pop of Color to Get You Through the Winter
Wintertime got you feeling down? We feel ya! If you’re missing the vibrant colors of spring, summer, and fall, here are five colorful and fun indoor plants ranging from easy to intermediate care to help carry you through those winter blues.
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This festive plant known as the Christmas Cactus is part of a genus of cacti called Schlumbergera. Like other species in this genus, including the Thanksgiving and Easter cacti, the Christmas Cactus blooms around… you guessed it, the very holiday it’s named for – Christmas! Plant lovers adore the Christmas Cactus for its vibrant look and straightforward care needs. They’re very hardy and, with proper care, can even bloom more than once a year. In the wild, this “epiphyte” cactus is found growing high up in the trees of Brazil and atop moss piles with decomposing leaves. (Epiphyte just means a plant that grows on another plant – but not in a parasitic way.) In your home, they’ll do just fine in some good old potting soil. Although they thrive in the humid environment of the Brazilian rainforest, Christmas Cacti will tolerate moderate humidity, too. Considering bringing one home this winter? To help your Christmas Cactus ride out the shorter days of the season, place him near a bright window that gets plenty of light during the day. Try to provide a little humidity, especially during the colder months, and water your new friend when the soil is almost dry (he’s not like a regular cactus, he’s a Christmas Cactus).
PLANT TIP: To check soil moisture, stick your finger an inch deep into the soil (up to the first knuckle). If there is significant moisture, leave it until it dries more. But, if the soil feels dry, it's time for a soak!
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Another blooming gorgeous houseplant, the Bromeliad exhibits all the brightest colors of springtime through vivid blooms in a variety of colors. Bromeliads, which – fun fact – come from the same family as pineapples, are fantastic, hardy tropical plants that do well indoors when given bright, indirect light. You wouldn’t catch a Bromeliad getting all roasty toasty in full sun in their native environment of tropical North and South America; they keep it (slightly) shady. Bromeliads like their soil moist, but not soggy. They also love humidity, but since that can be hard to come by in the dryness of wintertime, it can be helpful to mist your Bromeliads daily or to keep them in a bright bathroom where they can soak up all that natural, post-scrubadubdub shower humidity. Although Bromeliads only bloom once in their lifetime, with proper care these blooms can last well over 5+ months. Once the bloom begins to die, little offshoots, or “pups,” can be chopped off at the base of the plant and repotted, while the rest of the plant can continue to be grown as regular foliage. Pups from the momma plant can be harvested again and again to continue the cycle of blooms. (Pups also make for great – free! – gifts for your plant-loving friends.)
Aglaonema Red Siam
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Another easy-to-care-for, colorful plant is the Aglaonema Red Siam. There are several different species of Aglaonema, some more colorful than others; the Red Siam is a great, low-maintenance one to add to your collection as they enliven any space with their unique red and pink glow. You might hear people refer to the Aglaonema genus as Chinese Evergreen; the Red Siam in particular originates in parts of China and in the Philippines. If you’re considering adding this gorgeous specimen to your collection, be sure to find a spot where you can provide bright, indirect light. Red Siams can still grow in lower light, but if you’re looking to keep that bright and beautiful red variegation, you’ll need to place your plant near a window or under a grow light. As for watering needs, remember to let your Red Siam dry out almost completely before watering.
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It’s no wonder Prayer Plants are such a hot commodity; they are absolute showstoppers with their intricate patterns and colorful foliage! Another native to the Brazilian rainforest, Prayer Plants thrive on bright, indirect light and humidity. This species is a type of Calathea, which, if you've heard anything about them, you know can be a little fickle. Fear not, the trick is to keep your Calathea somewhere with ample humidity (like near a humidifier) or to mist it daily. Prayer Plants will do well in a sunny kitchen or bathroom – somewhere it’s likely to be warm and humid. They also prefer their soil to be kept moist; if you wait too long in between waterings, their leaves will crisp. Curious about the name? It comes from the fact that this plant’s leaves fold up together at nighttime, like hands in prayer.
PLANT TIP: Listen to what your plant is trying to tell you. Crispy leaves? Your plant is likely either sunburnt from too much direct sunlight or thirsty from infrequent waterings. If something’s going wrong, don’t despair! Contact the Hortihop “Help, It’s Dying!” Emergency Hotline, for your every burnt leaf and burning question.
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The final radiant plant on our list is also a Calathea: introducing the Stromanthe Triostar, or Tricolor. Stromanthes’ signature trait is their hot pink stems and leaves with splashes of white and green on the top. Also hailing from the Brazilian rainforest (anyone else feeling a Hortihop field trip??), these lovely plants thrive on humidity and bright light, like most other Calatheas. One rule of thumb with this plant, however, is to never leave it in direct sunlight as, you guessed it, the leaves will turn crispy. The Stromanthe Triostar is perfect for a home with bright, ambient sunlight as these are prolific growers when they are happy in their environment. The Stromanthe Triostar also likes its soil moist, so checking it regularly is advised to keep that brilliant pink glow brightening up your home through the winter and every season to come.
PLANT TIP: There are tons of affordable grow lights available that you can use if you don't have enough natural sunlight in a certain space in your home. Stay tuned for a blog post on grow lights… soon!