Even though it’s cold outside, the temperature in our homes remains at a balmy 72 degrees. It’s the perfect atmosphere for a human being, and as it happens, it’s ideal for tropical plants too. Our homes are lush jungles waiting to happen. All that’s missing are the plants. Here are our favorite high-light houseplants to enhance your greenery indoors:
When it’s time to find new houseplants, there’s no reason not to dream of the tropics.
To enjoy a taste of the jungle, you may want to start with a few palm trees. The Neanthe Bella, also known as a Parlor Palm, is a small variety, compact enough for a tabletop or desk. Its main draw is bushy foliage that loves bright, indirect rays but can adapt to lower light too. For all of the laid back elegance of a palm in a manageable size, the Neanthe Bella is your best choice.
The Areca gives you even taller fronds, making it an ideal palm for the floor. It reaches up for bright light with golden canes and lush green leaves but prefers the rays to be indirect. Originating in Madagascar, it’s sure to bring the easy-going feel of a tropical forest inside, as long as you’re mindful not to overwater, and you keep it away from drafts and heat sources.
Amidst your green forest of palms, a Croton brings exquisite color. The variegated scarlet, orange, yellow, and green leaves are like a Van Gogh painting come to life. They impress the senses as much as a tropical flower, but all with their leaves. They love bright, full sun. In fact, the more rays they receive, the more vibrant their leaves become.
Cacti and Succulents
You wouldn’t expect to find a cactus in a tropical jungle, but they make a beautiful addition to your indoor garden. While a Palm impresses with lush foliage, Cacti feature intricate spines, unusual shapes, and a charming self-sufficiency. Similar, but without the spikes, Succulents boast juicy leaves with intriguing designs and colors. Both get by on little water, sandy soil, and typically love dry, warm spots. If you ever thought these plants were boring, just wait until they bloom. Desert flowers are often the most stunning of all!
Other Light-Loving Plants at our Nursery
Hoyas are a type of trailing Succulent that have gained popularity in recent years, but they’ve long been a cherished tropical houseplant. Their thick, waxy leaves hang down elegantly from a shelf and, if you give them just the right amount of sunlight, they’ll bloom with porcelain-like flowers, brimming with fragrance. They’re a little more finicky than your average succulent, but well worth the reward. How to Care for Hoya Plants
English Ivy is another vine that impresses with the leaves alone. An important symbol in English and Roman mythology, it’s associated with wine, festivals, and fertility. This likely stems from the plant’s tendency to reach, climb, and weave around trees and onto the sides of buildings. In a pot, it will spill over the edges, bringing the lush feeling of a rainforest into your home.
A symbol of good luck, the Jade is one of the most popular succulent houseplants. The plump leaves are as beautiful as the precious gem that it’s named after. It’s perfect for keeping on your desk, a bedside table, or in the kitchen, as long as it has the bright, indirect sunlight that it needs.
We’ve talked about Palms, and we’ve talked about Succulents—the Ponytail Palm is the best of both worlds. It is a small Succulent with a woody trunk to hold water and wispy hair-like leaves. It’s like a Bonsai Tree with an early 80s hairdo. The compelling personality is one reason why this is becoming a popular houseplant; another reason is that it’s super easy to care for.
When it’s time to find new houseplants, there’s no reason not to dream of the tropics. The conditions in our home are apt for a wide range of plants that wouldn’t survive anywhere in the local landscape. With a bit of care, we can live side-by-side exotic species that we might not ever encounter in our lives.
To see what we have available, feel free to contact our garden centers, or drop by our locations in Bloomingdale and Carpentersville!
Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.