Unusual, puffed-up flowers resembling inch-long pocketbooks give these plants their common name. The blooms may be bright yellow, red, or orange and are often marked with spots. Commonly available types are hybrids belonging to the Herbeohybrida group; most reach 915 in. high and 612 in. wide.
Hailing from the mountains of South America, these are short-lived plants that won't take sustained temperatures higher than 65F. They can be grown from seed, but most people buy plants in bloom from a florist or greenhouse in winter. Pocketbook plants are largely grown as short-term indoor plants, though they are sometimes bedded out for late winter color in the Coastal South. For best results indoors, place near a north- or east-facing window, away from heating vents or other heat sources. Keep at 5060F to prolong the flowering period. The soil should be moist but never soggy; no fertilizing is necessary. When the blooms fade, discard the plant.