04 Beautiful Plants That You Can Grow Indoors04 Beautiful Plants That You Can Grow Indoors
1/ Opuntia Verschaffeltii Cactus Plant
The Opuntia Verschaffeltii is a cactus plant which grows slowly and is bushy with slender cylindrical stems. The ones normally cultivated have stemmed slightly thicker than a pencil and are generally without spines. The stems range can be 10 to 12 centimeters (4 to 5 inches) long, with some of the stems being much shorter and in the form of tiny spheres. As already stated, this plant takes a long time to grow. However, once it grows significantly, it produces red flowers at the tips of the stems.
The plant becomes very untidy after some years, and it would be a good idea to take out a stem and plant it separately in order to start a new plant. The Opuntia Verschaffeltii tolerates low but dry temperatures. During the summer months, it requires more water than other cactus species. It is a very interesting plant to grow for cactus lovers, and it can be very rewarding with flowers once it reaches a certain age and size.
2/ Echeveria Harmsii – Flowering Succulent
The Echeveria Harmsii is a bushy succulent which can grow up to around 30cm tall. It has a lax terminal rosette of narrow green leaves. The succulent genus originated from Mexico and the North West of South America, and it derives its name from a Mexican botanical artist who lived in the 18th century, Atanasio Echeverria y Godoy. It is a popular plant in gardens and has an inbuilt resistance to lack of water supply. Despite this statement, the Echeveria thrives in environments where it is properly watered and fertilized.
The stems and leaves are slightly velvety and often have a red touch to the edges. What is attractive about this plant is that the flowers produced are out of proportion when compared to the rest of the plant, in that they are larger than expected. The flowers can be up to 2.5cm long and are a mixture of red and yellow.
It is not considered to be a difficult plant to care for but keeping it in the right condition is important. It grows mostly in spring, requiring more watering than the other seasons. The leaves and flowers develop quickly under the right conditions, but if left too dry, it sheds its leaves. The ideal place to grow this houseplant is a shady spot, with regular watering, especially in spring and summer. It is propagated using cuttings and these must be sown in spring.
3/ Euphorbia Milii (Crown of Thorns)
The Euphorbia Milii (also known as Crown of Thorns) originated from Madagascar and it is a succulent with spiny stems. There are many different variations in cultivation, adapted from the original Madagascar type, with different leaf sizes, size of bushes and flower colors. The colored part of the ‘flower’ is not actually the flower but a modified leaf (also known as bract), with the flower being at the center of the bracts.
This plant can grow between 30 cm (one foot) to 1.2 meters (four feet). There is no standard leaf size as, within the same plant, these may differ in size and in shape. Several shades of leaf colors are available nowadays, being adapted from the original red color.
The Euphorbia Milii is an easy houseplant to grow. They do not like full summer sun but still require a bright position. Their preferred temperature is around 21 Degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) but they can withstand temperatures as low as 10 Degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit). When kept in high temperatures they need to be watered often and will retain leaves and flowers for most of the year, unlike when the temperatures are low, when the Euphorbia Milii needs to be kept dry and will shed its leaves and flowers. One can propagate the Euphorbia Milii from a cutting, but it is not very easy to root.
4/ Aloe Variegata: Tiger Aloe / Partridge-breasted Aloe
The Aloe Variegata is a common plant which has been cultivated for many years. The succulent is also known as Tiger Aloe or a Partridge-breasted Aloe, owing to the white/light-green markings on the boat-shaped leaves. Despite being common, it is not an easy plant to grow. It is a flowering succulent, producing flowers in spring on short flower stems.
The ideal place to grow this plant is on a windowsill. The Aloe Variegata likes fairly dry summers and very little water in winter. A trap that many cactus and succulent collectors fall into is that they keep it too wet in summer and dry in winter. In order to propagate this plant, one needs to remove some of the offsets from its base and plant it separately. It is also possible to plant it from a seed, but seeds of this succulent are not widely available.