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Best Indoor Plants Are Foliage Not Flowering Plants

Jun 26, 2008
Most of the houseplants indoor gardeners choose these days are foliage plants, as opposed to flowering plants. Though the flowering varieties may be more striking, their leafy cousins more than make up for this lack of show with their easy maintenance. They are often simple to grow and propagate and adapt easily to almost any environment.

Able to thrive year-round, foliage plants are the foundation of almost every indoor garden. There are plenty to choose from, too, as foliage plants come in hundreds upon hundreds of types, from which thousands of hybrids and varieties are derived.

A seemingly endless selection of sizes, shapes, leaf forms and leaf colors are available for the home gardener to choose from. However, if you want the most low-maintenance among the foliage plants, choose a Kangaroo Vine, a Maranta or a Pandanus. Each may be grown in any part of the country and is available almost everywhere.

Kangaroo Vine is distinctive for its long, shiny, heart-shaped leaves with ragged edges. The plant can grow as large as three feet tall and is propagated by slips. Kangaroo Vine does best when placed in east- or west-facing windows

Maranta is also known as the Prayer Plant because of the way its leaves close at night. It's a low-growing plant that seldom grows more than a foot tall. Its green leaves are covered with diamond-shaped spots that are purple when the plant is young, though they change to a brownish color in more mature plants. Marantas thrive in a humid atmosphere, which can be achieved by regular spraying, and when placed in an east or west window. These plants should be fed frequently and watered well to get the most out of them. Propagation is by leaf cuttings.

Pandanus also called Screw Pine -- can grow as high as fifty feet tall, other varieties of the plant are cultivated for potting. Pandanus is commonly known as Screw Pine. The plant's narrow, sword-like leaves grow in spirals from the base. The sword-like leaves grow in spirals out of a com-mon base. The leaves on the household variety (P. veitchi)can grow up to three feet long and are a deep green with silvery stripes at the base. Like those of most Bromeliads, the edges of the leaves are spiny with sharp points.

Pandanus should be watered frequently, and its leaves should also be sprayed as frequently as possible. These plants prefer partial shade when possible and an east or west window, and they will tolerate a fairly warm atmosphere. P. utilis, a species of Screw Pine with red-spined leaves, is also used as a houseplant. You can propagate Pandanus by cutting off the suckers at the base and rooting them.

Varieties of foliage plants are available for every space and budget to create a tropical unique landscaping design, and there are no messy flowers to deal with. So no matter if you're growing plants for show or just for atmosphere, non-flowering foliage plants are a great way to add more life to your garden.
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