House Plants requiring minimum temperature 10-12 °C

House Plants requiring minimum temperature 10-12 °C

These plants require more care because they are more tender and need more consistent watering and attention.

Begonia rex is a rhizomatous plant, grown for its decorative leaves. The flowers are relatively small and can be removed to strengthen leaf growth. The leaves are radical, obliquely oval in shape, with a heart-shaped base tapering to a point.

B. masoniana (Iron Cross) is another foliage begonia, originally from Singapore. The grey-green leaves have a moss-covered appearance and a large brownish cross-shaped zone in the centre. Both plants like humidity away from direct sunlight.

Beloperane guttata (Shrimp Plant), from Mexico, makes a small shrub suitable for a house plant, up to 2 feet in height. It has soft, shining, green, oval leaves and terminal arching spikes of flowers that are almost hidden by brownish pink, overlapping bracts with some resemblance to a shrimp. It is easily grown and likes plenty of sun and light.

Billbergia nutans from Brazil, grows with rosettes of narrow, grass-like, silvery green leaves about a foot long. The flowers are a drooping spike made up of rose-pink bracts surrounding small flowers, appearing in late winter and early spring.

Cadiaeum variegatum pictum (Croton) is a native of Malaya. House plant specimens are pot grown to a single stem, up to 2 feet high, with smooth leathery leaves marked in vivid colours. The plants are exacting in their requirements; ample light, high humidity, an even temperature and watering and springing in summer, less in winter.

Euphorbia splendens, a native of Madagascar, is popularly known as the ’Crown of Thorns’ because the branching brown stems are beset with long tapering spines. A few small green Leaves appear on the tips of the branches, and small flowers, each enclosed in a pair of blood-red bracts, are borne in clusters from winter until early summer. While in flower they should be watered moderately, decreasing the amount as flowers and bracts fade.

Kalanchae are half-hardy succulent plants, found in tropical and southern Africa. They have showy, attractively coloured leaves, and K. blossfeldiana is probably the most successful house plant. Growing 12 inches high, it produces many stems with dark green notched leaves edged with red and panicles of small orange-red flowers, scented in the winter months.

Monstera deliciosa, a native of Mexico, grows with erect stiff stems, which are better for some support, as it is a creeper rather than a climber. The leaves are broadly ovate, tough, leathery and dark green with a deeply incised edge and large holes in the leaf blade. In America it is known as the Ceriman, and in nature bears a spadix of yellowish flowers that give way to edible fruits with a pineapple flavour. It is far too large for most rooms, for its leaves can be 4 feet long and 2 feet across but smaller varieties can be obtained. Monsteras are slow growers and may be grown in large pots, watering with care as too much or too little can cause yellowing at the leaf tips. They are good plants for halls and foyers.

Nephrolepis exaltata is a tropical fern with finely cut, pinnate, green fronds of up to 2 feet long and 6 inches broad, a rapid grower which needs a fair amount of room. N. cordifolia compacta is also excellent for pots, with deep green, glossy, arching fronds, about 2 feet long. Both of these ferns like shade and liberal watering in summer, more moderate watering in winter. Propagation is by division in March.

Peperomia caperata is one of the many members of the Peperomia genus, which has some 400 species, all of American origin. P. caperata is a dwarfish plant with oval tapering leaves of dark corrugated green and white, taper-like spikes of flowers in season. P. hederaefolia has silvery markings. They need light, airy conditions without draughts and only moderate watering, even more sparingly in winter.

Scindapsus aureus requires a certain amount of light to keep its colour, but too strong sunlight will burn the leaves. The variety ’Marble Queen’ has creamy-white foliage flecked with green and is a good contrast plant to grow in a green setting.

Sedum sieboldii from Japan, an easily grown plant, is only of annual duration. At the end of autumn it will die down and will not start into growth again until late spring. Before dying down, the plant produces heads of pink flowers. When growing the plant likes light, but little water. When growth is complete, water should be withheld altogether and plants kept dry, then given a good soak to restart growth.

Zebrina pendula is a pleasing, easily grown house plant, native to the southern United States and Mexico. The narrow, oval leaves are 2 inches long, coloured with a central green stripe, with silver, purple and dark green to the edges, and purple red below. Plants need a light airy position, and should be watered freely in summer, moderately in winter. Pinching back in spring induces bushiness.

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