In addition to the foliage varieties, there are many flowering sorts that are excellent for sunny windows, with shiny leaves and showy blooms of pink, white, and scarlet. They will not stand either air or soil that is cold or dry.
The forms of common white callalily are the most satisfactory for house plants. They need sunlight, but strong reflected light will serve as a fair substitute. Bulbs should be planted in late summer or early fall in pots just big enough to hold the bulb and the soil about it. Keep them at about 60 degrees while the roots are forming, then at about 65 to 70 degrees after growth starts. Until growth begins they should be watered only moderately. Callas may be grown in an indoor water garden either as marsh plants or in shallow water. The common callalily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) bears white flowers, some of them 8 inches long, and its many varieties range in height from 1 to 6 feet.
Buy them for their flowers and then discard them. They must have fresh air, a fairly cool room, and attentive watering so that water does not stay in the crown and rot the leaf bases and flower shoots.
The species Daphne odora (Winter daphne), which is slow growing and blooms when small, is a useful pot plant providing attractive evergreen leaves and small, dense, pink or white flower masses, highly aromatic. It needs fairly low temperature and rich soil, somewhat acid.
For a spot with moderately cool temperature and good light without too much direct sun, fuchsias fill the bill. Easily propagated from seeds or cuttings, they bear attractive drooping blooms in rich reds, pinks, and purples, often offering bright contrasts between tubes, calyx lobes, and the petals themselves. They require reasonably rich, well-drained soil and water supplied regularly during active growth and less copiously when the plant shows signs of becoming dormant.
This South African native succeeds in small pots which induce the roots to crowd. It yields showy blooms and likes comparatively cool temperature and a regular, moderate supply of water. The scented species, which bears small, less showy flowers, make fine house plants.
If you can prune jasmine effectively to keep it in bounds, it makes a good house plant. It is a tropical vine which produces highly aromatic, clustered flowers of white or yellow and will succeed in almost any rich soil.
All species of this member of the Iris family flourish without sunshine and bloom late in winter or early in the spring. Known as falseflags, they bear graceful, arching leaves and small flowers of white or blue. Put them outdoors in partial shade during the summer.
This plant takes considerable managing but will decorate your home with spectacularly coloured leaves, especially magnificent and fitting for the Christmas holidays, if you can bring them along. Their popularity is attested by their sale from one end of the country to the other at Christmastime, and their modified leaves of red, white, or pink attract the notice of all who view them. After the coloured leaves drop and the inconspicuous flowers fade, the plants should be kept in a cellar or other well-ventilated storeroom at a temperature of 45 to 55 degrees, where they may dry out until late in the spring.
At this time the stems begin to grow again and the plants should be reset in pots just large enough to hold the roots comfortably in rich soil, with ample drainage material, such as gravel, cinders, or broken bits of other pots beneath. Cut the plants back to within 3 or 4 inches of the soil. Keep them in a fairly warm, light spot and water regularly until growth starts, then water copiously, but never let the soil get extremely wet. With the advent of warm weather set them outside, give them plenty of room, and keep them watered throughout the summer. At the first sign of cool nights take them inside and keep them in a light place, with a temperature of 60 to 65 degrees and ample air. Keep them free of drafts and wide changes of temperature. Liquid manure should be applied as the flowering period approaches. This plant will lose its leaves and require repotting if it becomes potbound.
Primroses usually are bought from a florist in full growth, in bloom, or developing flowering shoots. They require light, even moisture and air that is evenly moist. After the blooming period the primrose should be allowed to be brought to an inactive stage by reducing the water supply, and repotted in the fall in rich, well drained soil, with ample watering to start new growth. There are two species, Primula sinensis and Primula obconica, that cause skin rash to some persons who are allergic.
This plant, commonly called Africanviolet, bears blue flowers continuously under good indoor culture. It likes well-drained, light, loamy soil. Do not get water on the leaves; it injures them.
Like the Daphne this shrub (Osmanthus f ragrans) is notable for the rich fragrance of its small, green, scarcely noticeable flowers. Familiarly known as fragrant olive, its leaves are evergreen and small but the plant grows to considerable size so should not be added to the indoors collection unless there is sufficient room. It needs a cool, light situation, and even moisture.
Naturally the individual who has a garden in which to develop his plants has a better base of operations for house culture than the dweller in the small, yard less house or apartment. Not only does he have a place in which to develop many of his plants in their natural abode, but his mechanical facilities, such as lighting, porches, and storage rooms are better.
Whether he has a garden or not, however, the house plant grower will do well to seek the advice of his florist or seeds man to determine what particular plants have succeeded best in his neighbourhood and even in houses providing conditions similar to his own.
The beginner will fare best who does not start on indoor gardening with plants that are treated as greenhouse annuals, developed for a single blooming period and then thrown away. He is wise to regard many of these plants as being as transitory as cut flowers. Many camellias, gardenias, poinsettias, tulips, lilies and others .which are bought in bloom have been developed as greenhouse plants and do not adjust to home conditions.
Knowing the cultural routine and requirements of individual plants is essential to indoor gardening. With the information provided in this chapter, the indoor gardener is well on his way to successful operation for, as in all forms of gardening, skill and efficiency are developed through experience and practical application.