Field of Science

Winter flowers - Indoor Tropical Plants

You can take the biologist out of the tropics, but you can't take the tropics out of the biologist. A number of tropical plants actually thrive living out of doors during our generally hot, humid midwestern summers until early fall, hung from shepard's hooks in semi-shade or convenient oak limbs. Once the temperatures begin falling below 50F, they get moved inside for the duration of fall and winter.
The interesting thing is that this move stimulates regular flowering from December to February, a great indoor display of botanical color. Here's one of the Phactor's long time favorites: Billbergia nutans, the Queen's tears, a bromeliad or a member of the pineapple family. The combination of pink bracts and calyx, green ovary and petals, outlined in blue, and the yellow stamens is very striking and a quite unique color combination.
This plant grows well in a 50:50 combination of orchid mix and cactus potting "soil". Every two weeks the entire hanging basket is showered throughly and allowed to drain before rehanging.
Another reliable and easy to grow tropical plants that reliably flowers under this indoor-outdoor regiem is one of the orchid cacti that another blogger has illustrated so nicely. Enjoy.

8 comments:

mr_subjunctive said...

Wow: the full-size version of that picture is amazing.

I've seen a few people around the blogs that have Billbergia nutans, but I've never seen one for sale, at least not in a store. I suppose I've probably seen some on-line. *sigh*

The Phytophactor said...

>>but I've never seen one for sale, at least not in a store.

The Phactor must confess that he has his sources, and this particular plant was a cutting from my university's collection.

leavesnbloom said...

Great advice - I used to sell them but there was not much of a demand for them. Lovely photos. Happy New Year from Scotland

pomona belvedere said...

I'd seen these, and wondered how to grow them (I think they were in the Plant Delights, for fellow plants lusters). Glad to hear about their culture.

(Should I say this in public? I had a friend who said you should never go to a botanical garden without a big bag and a little pair of scissors. And let's face it, this is how all imported or highly-bred plants have been disseminated, through history.)

mr_subjunctive said...

leavesnbloom:

I expect not; they're really only interesting when they're blooming. But then, that's also true for an awful lot of plants that seem to sell just fine.

The Phytophactor said...

Pomona said: <<(Should I say this in public? I had a friend who said you should never go to a botanical garden without a big bag and a little pair of scissors. And let's face it, this is how all imported or highly-bred plants have been disseminated, through history.)

The Phactor cannot condone plant thievery, but Pomona is quite correct. After breaking the Arab monopoly on coffee production, which was enforced by treating all the coffee seeds in boiling water, the Dutch in a rare gesture of good will presented to King Louis XIV of France with a coffee tree, which was planted in a conservatory greenhouse in Paris. A single seedling of that tree was taken to Martinique, quite an adventure itself, and the progeny of that one seedling populated the neotropics with coffee trees. That's why ever since they slap your hand if you try to take seeds or cuttings from a botanical garden.

Larissa said...

I want one.

Term papers said...

What an unusual plant; I’ve never seen these before.
They are amazing plants. I think lot's of people like it so much. Thanks for sharing Very Interesting Blog.