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Growing Green: Blooming Plants to Brighten the Winter Blahs

This long cold winter is dragging on, and I’m ready for some color! Since spring is still a long way off, I am on the lookout for indoor blooming plants that will provide a respite from this bleak season.   If you are also looking for some indoor color, why not try one of these?

African Violets: (Saintpaulia ionantha) This is a favorite.  African Violets come in just about any color imaginable and are some of the easiest plants to take care of.  Place in a bright window and bottom water to keep the leaves dry. They will bloom almost continually.

Brazilian Fireworks: (Porphyrocoma pohliana) This plant has beautiful variegated lance shaped leaves and sends up deep red flower bracts that develop lavender flowers in an explosion of color. Requiring medium to bright light, “Fireworks” will grow to about a foot tall and 2 feet wide.

Flowering Maple: (Abutilon x hybridum) I love flowering maple. Its leaves can be solid green or variegated, and, if kept in bright to intense light and evenly watered, it will bloom almost continually.  Another giant, this plant reaches 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide at maturity.

Hibiscus: (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) Tropical hibiscus require bright to intense light and rich, well-drained soil.  The giant blooms come in an array of colors, from shades of red to pink to orange, yellow, white, and even blue. This plant can get up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, so plan accordingly.

Jasmine: There are many types of jasmine. Many-flowered jasmine (J. polyanthum) and Arabian jasmine (J. sambac) are two of the easiest to grow; just give them plenty of light and moisture. They'll all bear fragrant pink to white blooms on vining plants.

Oxalis: (Oxalis triangularis) This popular St. Patrick’s Day plant comes with purple or green leaves. It requires medium to bright light, and moist, well-drained soil.  Growing to just 12”, this plant is perfect for an office desk or kitchen counter.  Its blooms are light pink.

Silver Vase Plant:(Aechmea fasciata) This bromeliad  is one of my favorites. The stiff gray green leaves form a vase from which grows a large cluster of long-lasting pink bracts that bear short-lived purple flowers. It requires bright light and a draft free 65-75° space.

If you have a favorite indoor blooming plant, let me know.  I’m always on the lookout for something new and different.


Robin Trott is a Horticulture Educator with University of Minnesota Extension.