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Top 10 Outdoor Garden Plants That Make Great Houseplants


Many outdoor garden plants are actually warm weather perennials that will grow all year if brought indoors. Since homes have less light than outdoors, shade tolerant plants make good choices for houseplants. Homes will be also cooler and less humid, so tropical plants brought in as houseplants may need extra attention. Acclimate the plants gradually. You'll have some challenges and failures, but it’s worth the try.

1. Begonias

Begonias are becoming more popular with breeders and many varieties make excellent foliage plants. In particular, Rex begonias, with their unusual colors, patterns and textures, will make nice houseplants. They can be difficult, because they prefer a high humidity, but growing them on a pebble tray helps. Rex begonias also like warm soil and a chance to dry out slightly between waterings. (Moderate Light)

2. Fuchsia

Fuchsias look very tropical, but they actually enjoy cooler temperatures in the 60 - 70 degree F. range. They benefit from a winter rest. Bring the plants indoors before frost and trim to about 6 inches. Place in a cool spot (45 - 50 degrees F.) low light. Water lightly, only when the soil feels dry. In spring, move back into a sunny spot and resume watering regularly. New growth should start soon. Repot with fresh soil and begin feeding every other week. (Bright Light)

3. Geraniums (Pelargonium)

Gardeners have been overwintering geranium plants for years. You can allow them to go dormant until spring, but if you have a bright south facing window, you can have repeat blooms all winter. Geraniums that have been growing outdoors in pots make the best candidates, as they don’t like having their roots disturbed. Bring them in before frost and give the plants a light trim. Water when dry, feed monthly and they should bloom and be pest free. (Bright Direct Light)

4. Abutilon (Flowering Maple)

Abutilon is often grown in containers or beds as an annual, but they are actually tropical shrubs. Abutilon like bright light (S or W) and warm temperatures of 65 degrees F. or higher. Avoid drafts. Allow to dry between watering and feed every other week with a water soluble fertilizer. Can be pruned lightly in the fall and will often bloom in early to mid-spring. Keep an eye out for pests. (Bright Light)

5. Caladium

The same Caladium plants sold as tubers are potted and sold, for much more, as houseplants. Caladiums can tolerate full shade outdoors, but like indirect light indoors. Keep their soil moist, but not wet. Caladiums don’t like to be cold, preferring temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees F. If the leaves start to yellow and the plant is struggling, allow it to die back and rest until spring. Store in a cool, dry spot and repot in February or March. (Low to Moderate Light)

6. Boxwood and Myrtle

Small potted evergreen boxwood and myrtle make easy going houseplants and nice winter decorations. They prefer a direct light source and turning every few days will keep them growing evenly on all sides. Humidity is crucial to evergreen houseplants and misting is necessary. Water when the soil feels dry and feed monthly. Keep watch for spider mites. (Bright to Moderate Light)

7. Coleus

Coleus are every where these days. The old-fashioned seed grown varieties that prefer some shade make especially nice houseplants. If your plants are too large to bring in, coleus root quickly from cuttings. Give coleus indirect bright light. They like to be warm, but will tolerate cooler nights and temperatures down to about 55 degrees F. Keep the soil moist and feed monthly. Be sure to pinch off any flowers as they appear to keep the plants from going to seed. (Moderate Light)

8. Tropical Hibiscus

Hibiscus adapt well to indoors and may bloom all the winter if kept in a very sunny window. You can trim the plants, but hibiscus grow slowly in winter and you may not see any new growth. Allow the soil to dry between waterings, but feel free to mist daily. If you don’t have an ideal warm, sunny window, opt for a cool spot with average light and let them drop their leaves and go dormant. Keep an eye out for aphids. (Bright Direct Light)

9. Hot Peppers

Believe it or not, peppers are tropical perennials and can be kept growing and producing for several years. Smaller hot peppers are the easiest to bring indoors, but any pepper is worth a try. As with growing peppers outdoors, they like to be a little dry and a little underfed. But bright direct light is necessary to set flowers and grow peppers. Watch for aphids and fungus gnats. (Bright Direct Light)

10. Herbs: Basil, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Grass, Rosemary

Many herbs do well indoors. For annuals and biennials, like basil and parsley, it’s best to start with a small, younger plant. It’s hard to kill chives and even if they are hit by frost, they will rejuvenate indoors in a pot. Perennials, like Lemon grass and rosemary, can be potted and brought back and forth from the outdoor herb garden to the indoor window sill. Be sure they all get bright light, or they will get leggy. Trim and use your herbs to keep them bushy and full. (Bright Light)
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