Tropical plants can often invoke images of bright flowers and towering greenery. While many will stand in awe at their beauty, we don’t have to admire them from afar, we can grow them too! This article will look at some of our favorite tropical plants and teach you about growing them yourself. Many of them are quite easy to grow, and perfect for any level of gardener. If you’re looking to add some color to your home then keep reading and learn how to start growing tropical plants indoors.
How to Take Care of Tropical Plants - The Basics
As you might imagine, tropical plants come in a wide range of varieties and these can have wildly different care requirements. That said, there are some basics that are good rules of thumb to follow.
Typically, you’ll want to try to mimic the natural environment that the plant is found in. That often means providing bright, in-direct light, a decent amount of humidity, and avoiding any large temperature swings. That last point, temperature, is often a very important consideration. Drafty areas, especially in the winter, can be a death sentence to tropical plants.
Ultimately, you’ll want to make sure that you learn the specifics of the plant you’re looking to grow. With that in mind, let’s jump into some of our favorite tropical plants to grow indoors.
Humidity and Temperature For Indoor Tropical Plants
I wanted to take a quick section to talk a bit more about the temperature and humidity requirements of tropical plants. These are two of the most oft messed up areas of tropical plant care, so it’s worth paying special attention to them.
For temperature, most tropical plants don’t like low temperatures or large swings in temperatures. Most homes will be well within the range of acceptable temperature, so it’s usually not an issue.
More of a concern is large swings, usually brought on by being too close to an uninsulated exterior or source of temperature change. Drafty windows, doors, and heating/cooling vents can expose your plant to large temperature swings without you realizing it. It’s important to watch for these areas as they can be harmful to your plant.
The goal should be to provide a relatively even temperature for most of the day. Avoid placing your plants near anywhere that isn’t steady, or has the potential to experience large swings quickly.
Humidity is another concern as tropical plants will typically enjoy higher humidities than most homes will naturally have. This is especially problematic in the winter when the warm, dry air from furnaces further pushes down the humidity.
Luckily, there are a lot of easy ways to boost the relative humidity around your plants. An easy way to do so is to simply mist your plants every couple of days. This provides extra moisture to your plant without the risk of overwatering.
Pebble trays are another good way to boost the relative humidity around your garden. These help by trapping water, and improve local humidity. Many of the pre-made ones are quite small, but you can build your own by simply adding rocks to a large saucer and keeping it moist.
If you’re interested in learning more, we have a full article on houseplant humidity and how to increase it.
Best Tropical Plants For Indoor Gardeners
For our first plant, we have the birds of paradise which has a distinctive look that screams tropical plant to many who see it. The birds of paradise are not difficult to grow, but do require a bit of care. It’s a heavy feeder, and will require a consistent fertilizing and watering scheduling during its growing season. It also requires a decent amount of bright light. If you can provide the care though you’ll be rewarded with a stunning plant.
Native to western Africa, the Fiddle leaf fig is one of the most popular houseplants that most people don’t realize is from a tropical region of the world. The fig can be a bit tricky to start with, but once you get into a care routine it’s not that difficult. Make sure to provide bright light and water consistently. As it grows, you can take cuttings to start completely new plants and have multiple of these large beauties growing at once.
Native to Brazil, the Christmas cactus isn’t your typical cacti as it actually likes humidity and water. This plant can grow in lower light conditions, but for it to truly bloom you’ll want to expose it to bright sunlight during the spring and summer. It also does like a good amount of water, so you should be diligent in checking if the soil is dry. This throws the typical cactus advice out the window, but is well worth the effort once you see this plant’s beautiful blooms.
Rubber plants are another great choice; these plants can grow several feet tall and make a big statement. Rubber plants are a medium light plant, and will do best in areas that get lots of in-direct sunlight. They also don’t require a ton of water, so you’ll only need to water about every 1-2 weeks. With proper care, you can expect a rubber plant to live for well over a decade.
Pothos is an excellent plant for those looking for a low maintenance tropical plant. Pothos only requires a medium level of light, and can even grow in some low light conditions. It also doesn’t need much water; it’s leaves will clearly start to curl when it needs to be watered, making it easy to tell when a watering is needed. These taken together make it very easy to care for, and a great addition to any garden that will require minimum work after planting.
Orchids are one of the most popular and varied plants grown by gardeners worldwide. They come in a huge range of varieties, and many of these have different care requirements. While orchids are often seen as difficult to grow it is well worth the effort to see these beauties bloom. Some varieties are also quite easy to grow, and require very little care. In most cases, you’ll want to have an area that gets lots of bright light and avoid any large temperature changes or drafts.
Lastly, we finish with the peace lily. Peace lilies are well known for being a very easy and low maintenance houseplant. They can be grown in most low to medium light conditions, and don’t require much water. This makes peace lilies very popular for those looking for any easy way to add some greenery to their home.
Growing Tropical Plants Indoors
Hopefully the above has inspired you to start your own tropical garden. These beautiful plants can be an easy way to add some color to your home and bring some beautiful greenery indoors. If you have any questions please reach out, we love to help fellow gardeners grow the garden of their dreams.
Indoor Tropical Plants FAQ
Can You Grow Tropical Plants Indoors?
Yes, with the proper care it’s easy to grow tropical plants indoors. This is a varied group of plants, meaning there is a range of difficulties in terms of indoor gardening. Plants like the fig or peace lily are popular plants from tropical regions that are quite easy to grow and care for.
What Things Should I keep In Mind When Growing Topical Plants?
Keep the natural enviroment of the plant in mind. Many tropical rain forest plants, for example, are use to growing under the dense canopy of taller trees. This means they survive with more in-direct light, but in a hot, humid environment. Try to match the natural environment of your plant and you’ll have much better success growing it.
Do Tropical Plants Need a Lot of Light?
It depends on the plant, but many can grow in low to medium light conditions. Peace lilies, for example, are well known to grow in partial to almost full shade. Not all tropical plants are this forgiving though, and some prefer bright light for multiple hours per day. Make sure to learn about your chosen plant so that you can provide it the correct care for optimal growth.
When Do You Water Tropical Plants?
Like most other plants, you’ll want to water them when the soil is dry to the touch. Some tropical plants like a bit more water, but this a good rule of thumb to follow. In the winter, expect to water less as many plants will go dormant or grow significantly more slowly.