How to Grow Tropical Houseplants

When you buy a tropical blooming houseplant they look healthy at the store. Take them home, and after the blooms fade, the plant seems to go downhill. Most people are able to keep the plant growing, but not flower. Tropical plants need special conditions to grow. They require a certain amount of light, and a period of rest. If you know what to do to, you can keep those tropical houseplants happy. Chances are they will flower again for years to come.


Stephanotis, commonly known as Bridal wreath, grows as a small vine. The dark green leaves contrast with the clusters of fragrant white flowers. Place the stephanotis in the full sun of an east window. Room temperatures can vary from 60 to 85 degrees F, but keep the plant away from drafts. Provide a humid environment, by misting the leaves daily. Fill a sprayer bottle with lime-free water to keep the leaves from water stains. Feel the soil for moisture. Stephanotis prefer a moist soil, but not soggy. Avoid using cold water or hot water. In the natural, stephanotis is used to tropical rainfall which is warm. Feed your stephanotis a water-soluble fertilizer every other week. Since stephanotis is a vining plant, provide a trellis. They need something to climb on that will give some support. As you water and care for this plant, inspect the leaves for scale or mealy bugs. If you find these pests on your plant, remove them with a cotton ball saturated in rubbing alcohol.


Cyclamen are often sold around the Christmas season. You can choose between the miniature cyclamen and the regular cyclamen. The miniature cyclamen will be around 5 inches tall, where the regular cyclamen grows to a height of 12 inches. This plant originated in Southern Europe and the Middle East. The silver and green leaves are heart-shaped. The flowers come in a variety of pink, white red or purple shades. The flower petals are backswept, and depending on the variety, they can be striped, frilly or tipped with a different color.

After you get your cyclamen home, place it in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight. The room should stay between 55 to 65 degrees F. Bottom water the plant by filling a saucer with tepid water. Place the pot in the water and allow it to soak for no longer than 20 minutes.

When the cyclamen stops blooming, the leaves will turn yellow. This happens in the summer. Many people make the mistake that their plant is dying or has died. Instead the cyclamen goes into a period of rest. Cut the plant back and place the cyclamen in a cool, dark place. During this time, only water enough to keep the roots from drying out. If the soil is kept too wet, the roots will rot. Keep the cyclamen here until the fall. Bring the plant out and set it in a bright window as you did when you first brought it home. Resume care as you did when you first brought the plant home. When the plant begins budding and blooming, fertilize with a high-phosphorus fertilizer diluted by half. A word of warning: Botrytis is often the result when the soil is kept too wet. Botrytis is a gray fuzzy looking fungus that will kill your plant. If you notice your plant has this disease, cut off the yellowed leaves and remove any spent flowers. This improves the air circulation around your plant.


The Houseplant Expert, Book 2: D.G. Hessayon

Tropical Houseplants

Plant Bridal Wreath, Stephanotis
The Garden Helper: Growing and Caring for Cyclamen Plants

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