Monday, August 15, 2011

Low Maintenance Doesn’t Mean No Variety

Colorful tropical plants add beauty and create a relaxing atmosphere to any interior living environment whether at home or work. Maintaining tropical plants inside may seem to be challenging, but luckily there are many that are low maintenance. Three favorites come to mind:

The first is Sansevieria, commonly known as the snake plant. With very low water and light requirements, this is one of the easiest plants to maintain. There are several cultivars that range in size from six inches to around three feet. Colors range from dark green foliage to white with some cultivars having very intriguing combinations of both.

Consider using Sanseverias in containers along with the next plant on my list of favorite tropicals, Codiaenum variegatum, commonly known as the croton plant. There are hundreds of cultivars available, and my description cannot do this tropical treasure justice. Its bright patterned foliage includes an absolutely indescribable combination of green, yellow and red, with multiple leaf patterns and a variety of sizes. Crotons do well in indirect light and perform better if they are allowed to dry out between watering.

A third addition to this tropical container combination is bromeliads—specifically, the terrestrial Guzmanias or Neoregelias. The color range is wide open in this group of tropical plants, and their maintenance requirements are simple. Bromeliads can live without water for long periods of time, provided water is maintained in a naturally occurring cupped area located in the center of the plant. Keeping water in the “cupped” area will keep this tropical hydrated. Add fresh water once weekly to avoid the water becoming stagnant. Bromeliads, either alone or grouped in a container, will add remarkable beauty to any surrounding while not demanding a lot of maintenance.

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