Indoor plants are stepping up with dramatic foliage, vivid new flower colours and scaled-down versions of traditional favourites that are ideal for smaller spaces. Add these new indoor plants to your home.
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Known as arum or calla lilies, these are now available in a range of eight different colours: black, purple, lavender, dark pink, rose, peach, orange and yellow. Newer varieties also feature coloured leaves that echo the shades of the flowers. Indoor zantedeschia are small, with petite trumpet-shaped flowers and green pointed leaves.
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Needs: Bright light and early morning sun, but no direct midday sun. Normal room humidity is acceptable, or place them outdoors on a sheltered terrace or balcony. Water the plants as soon as the soil surface is slightly dry. During spring and summer, add liquid fertiliser to the water about every two weeks. The leaves are toxic to cats and dogs so keep the plants out of reach.
PHALAENOPSIS (MOTH ORCHID)
Breeders have extended the colour range of this popular orchid to include yellow and orange shades. Plants are now being grown in glass containers to display the roots as well as the spectacular flowers. Attention is being given to Midis (medium-high growers) that fit easily into all kinds of interiors. With their long flowering period (up to three months), and ease of care, phalaenopsis remain one of the most popular indoor flowering plants.
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Needs: Strong, bright indirect light and high humidity for the best growth and flowers. Drop two ice cubes on the top of the soil once a week; this will supply enough water. Alternatively, run water through the potting mix for one minute every three to 10 days, depending on the season.
Popular as an indoor tree in the ’70s, the rubber plant usually ended up in a dark, dusty corner. It’s now making a glamorous comeback with dramatic foliage variations. ‘Tineke’ (pictured) has variegated foliage in a mix of cream, olive green and pink. ‘Abidjan’ combines bronze, maroon and black shades. These no-fuss plants can grow up to 2m high, but can be kept shorter.
Needs: Good indirect light, even though they’ll grow in poor light. Don’t overwater. Let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. They tolerate ordinary household conditions, but not sudden drops in temperature. They also don’t like to be moved; find the right spot and leave them there.
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These plants have had the biggest makeover, shedding their old-fashioned image. Originally bred as cut flowers, the new varieties are slimmed down, have smaller flowers and a greater variety of leaf shapes and sizes. The distinctive yellow spadix now comes in many other colours. Look out for ‘Mystique’, which has painterly leaves, and ‘Cirano’, a pocket-sized variety. With the right care, these plants are almost indestructible, lasting indoors for many years.
Needs: Bright indirect light in a warm room. Let the soil dry out slightly between waterings and don’t let the plant stand in water.
Plants supplied by Plantimex plantimex.co.za