Refreshing, bright houseplants to welcome in spring
If you prefer foliage to flowers, these handsome begonias are grown for their beautifully coloured leaves. The heart-shaped leaves, can be up to 30cm in length, with striking patterns in variations of red, black, silver and green with a rippled or pimpled surface. They grow to approximately 30cm/12in in height and 46cm/18in in width.
Despite being from the tropics, begonias are easy to look after, which makes them great gifts. They like a bright but not sunny location. Keep warm and moderately moist all year round. Feed with liquid fertiliser every two weeks in spring and summer. Water sparingly in winter.
Begonia leaves are delicate, so treat the plant carefully and do not use leaf shine. Turn the pot regularly to ensure even growth as the plant will tend to grow towards the light.
Kalanchoe are succulent plants originating from Madagascar. They’re great little houseplants because they’re so easy to look after. Kalanchoes enjoy a bright sunny position (warm in summer, cooler in winter). Keep them almost dry in winter, in summer water moderately. In spring and summer feed with cactus fertilizer once a month. You’ll be rewarded with delicate little flowers from late winter to late spring.
Azaleas are related to rhododendrons, and have similar big, blousy flowers, but they are not hardy and should be kept indoors in the winter. Even so, they are a wild, exotic-looking flower that will bring the spring into any home.
They need to be watered regularly – with rainwater if you live in a hard water area – as they hate drying out. Dry brown leaves usually indicates underwatering whereas firm yellow leaves means it has been watered with hard water.
More commonly known as African violet, these neat little flowering houseplants come in pretty shades of pink, purple and white, with furry leaves. They orginiate from mountainous regions of South Africa and Tanzania. They’re happiest on an east-facing windowsill and bring a bright splash of colour to your room.