You may grow house plants for many reasons. They are decorative and add colour to a room, they improve air quality in the home, and for many people, caring for their plants is a relaxing hobby. But for some people, plants are chosen for their flowers and their fragrance. These five popular houseplants lead that list.
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Gardenia (Gardenia augusta)
The intense aroma of gardenia is sweet, and the dark glossy leaves and white flowers are beautiful, but the plants can be difficult to grow indoors. They require high humidity, a great deal of light and warm daytime temperatures, and need winters with cool nights (12.7 to 15.5 degrees C) to do well. The gardenia is picky and high maintenance, so it may not be the best choice for gardeners that don't want plants that need pampering. A thriving gardenia can also get quite large, up to six to eight feet tall.
Scented Geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
Although most people think of flowers when thinking of fragrance, the leaves of the scented geranium are its attraction. There are a wide range of scented geraniums, including lemon, peppermint, chocolate, orange, lavender and rose. The scent is more subtle than that of some flowers, but can be released by simply rubbing the leaves. Scented geraniums prefer well-drained soil which should be allowed to dry between waterings, and they prefer a cool temperature (12.7 to 20.0 degrees C).
Arabian Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
Arabian jasmine, sometimes called pink jasmine, is actually a member of the olive family. It is an evergreen vine that grows outdoors in warm climates, but works well as a houseplant. Arabian jasmine has dark green leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers that turn pink as they mature, with a sweet delicate scent. It prefers high humidity, warm temperatures and full sunlight.
Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa)
The wax plant is a trailing vine with green leathery leaves that can be trained on a wire or trellis. It is less picky about humidity and temperature than some house plants, although it prefers bright filtered light. Its soil should be allowed to become dry to the touch between waterings. It blooms in clusters of white or pink star-shaped flowers that can last for a month of more. The wax plant blooms better when it is slightly rootbound, so don't be too quick to repot.
Grape Hyancinth (Muscari)
Most people think of the hyacinth as an outdoor flower, looking forward to its royal blue flowers in the early spring, but the bulbs can also be grown in shallow pots and forced to bloom indoors. Plants the bulbs approximately three to four inches deep, an inch or two apart, and set the pot somewhere with temperatures of 1.66 to 12.7 degrees C. It will even work to set them in the refrigerator. After 10 to 12 weeks, remove the pot from the cold location, and water daily. After the bulbs have finished blooming and the foliage dies back, they can be planted outdoors. Buy new bulbs each year.
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