Expert growers from Florida’s Costa Farms reveal the scoop on beautiful houseplants. Each of their picks is guaranteed to flourish even for beginners.
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis sp.) bear magnificent, long-lasting white, pink, red, purple, lavender, or yellow flowers.
How to Grow: Don’t overwater. Let the top inch of soil dry between thorough waterings. Make sure pots drain well. Don’t overfertilize. Feed plants only when they are producing lush new leaves. Use a slow-release orchid fertilizer. Don’t put plants in full sun—they’ll burn. Place them in an east or west window with bright, filtered light. A south window is okay in winter. A north window would probably be too dark. For more advice, see Costa’s orchid info site, orchidsareeasy.com.
How to Display: Use elegant vases to emphasize their exotic form. Place them in front of a mirror to double the impact.
Succulents store water in their fleshy stems and leaves. Water them sparingly. Make sure the pots drain well or the plants will quickly rot. Use shallow containers rather than deep ones.
How to Grow: They prefer a sunny window and fast-draining potting soil. Water every one to two weeks, letting soil dry completely between waterings. Feed your plants monthly during active growth with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer.
How to Display: Create a dish garden using a metal, stone, or terra-cotta pot with gravel mulch on top. Combine 4-inch plants that have different shapes and textures, such as the aloe, echeveria, ‘Flap Jack’ kalanchoe, and haworthia pictured in the container above.
Native to the American Tropics, anthuriums marry glossy, deep green leaves with spectacular blooms of red, pink, orange, or white. No flowers last longer indoors—up to three months from the time they open. Cut flowers last several weeks in water.
How to Grow: Give them bright light but not direct sun. Feed monthly during active growth with a liquid 20-20-20 product. Grow them in coarse, well-drained soil that you let go slightly dry between thorough waterings. Keep temperature above 65 degrees. Clip off old flowers at bases of plants.
How to Display: Growing 12 to 15 inches tall, anthuriums are perfect for tables, countertops, windowsills, and pedestals. Show off the long-lasting cut flowers in pretty vases.
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) are great indoors. They tolerate low light and combine handsome, deep green leaves with showy, white blooms. They also purify indoor air. Some selections grow big, while others stay small.
How to Grow: Provide bright, indirect light. Direct sun burns the foliage. Keep soil moist. Feed every two weeks in spring and summer with a 20-20-20 fertilizer. Flush out the soil with lots of water two to three times a year to remove mineral salts left from fertilizer.
How to Display: Use massive ‘Sensation’ (5 feet high and 4 feet wide) as a floor plant where you need big impact. Place smaller types, such as ‘Petite,’ on tables, countertops, pedestals, or plant stands.