When caring for exotic indoor plants, a little more sensitivity is often required than with domestic green and flowering plants. This is how the culture of tropical plants works!
Tending to tropical houseplants is not always easy. It is often helpful to study the care instructions because exotic species often do not adhere to our seasons with their rhythm of life. We give tips on how to properly cultivate tropical plants.
Which tropical plants need special care?
Exotic plants are popular houseplants because of their colorful flowers or lush green leaves. Bromeliads, flamingo flowers (Anthurium), orchids, tropical ferns, palms, basket Amaranthe (Calathea), arrowleaf (Alocasia), pineapple, wreath loop (Stephanotis floribunda), frangipani, twist fruit (Streptocarpus), desert rose (Adenium obesum) pep up with unusual shapes and colors, Monstera, Tillandsia, Agave, Kaladie, Tropical Arum (Alocasia amazonica), Fittonie or Medinille (Medinilla magnifica) living rooms and winter gardens. Unfortunately, many of these exotic beauties do not survive long as houseplants because they are not properly cared for. The flowering and foliage plants from the tropics are not that easy to use. With these five tips, you will create the right conditions for tropical plants to grow and thrive in your home.
Bromeliads are one of the most popular exotics for the room. You get your water straight into the lead funnel
Tip 1: optimize the light output for tropical plants
Many exotic houseplants originally come from the tropical rainforest. The light output is high here, but the dense canopy of leaves protects against direct sunlight. Most tropical plants, therefore, prefer to be in a very bright place, but not in direct sun. West or east windows and a warm winter garden are usually the best locations for tropical indoor plants. Since the light output in our latitudes is rather poor, especially in winter, you should also make sure to keep the leaves of the plants clean and free of dust.
Dust can be removed from prickly cacti with a brush. Wipe foliage plants with a damp rag. A regular warm shower also removes dust particles from the leaves of the tropical plants and also increases the humidity. Attention: A few exotic species are less hungry for light and are also suitable for slightly recessed corners in the room or a place near the frosted glass window. These include Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera), fittie, basket Amaranthe (Calathea), mountain palm (Chamaedora elegans), stick palm (Rhapis excelsa), border fern (Pteris), and moss fern (Selaginella).
A bright window is a right place for exotic indoor plants such as orchids
Tip 2: increase the humidity for exotic plants
The tropical rainforest is extremely humid with a humidity between 70 and 100 percent. Such high values can hardly be generated in a living room without the walls going moldy at the same time. Nevertheless, when caring for tropical indoor plants, you should make sure to keep the humidity in their immediate vicinity as high as possible, especially during the winter heating season. You can do this with water-filled coasters that slowly evaporate the water on the heater, commercially available air humidifiers, or regular spraying of the plants with water that is low in lime. Exotics, which absolutely need high humidity to survive, such as rib (Blechnum) and nest fern (Asplenium), grow best in a bright bathroom. If the air is too dry, the plants get unsightly brown leaf tips, and the risk of pests (especially spider mites) increases.
Regular help is required with the humidity in the living space
Tip 3: water tropical plants properly
Tropical house plants love a high level of moisture around them, but permanently wet roots are a big problem. Although the individual plant species differ in their individual water requirements, the rule of thumb is: it is better to water less often, but thoroughly. Epiphytes such as orchids, succulents, and cacti are best dipped rather than poured. One to four weeks can then pass before the next watering. Therefore, before each watering, check whether the substrate has dried and if in doubt, wait a little longer before the next watering. Most tropical plants are very robust and, with a few exceptions, tolerate a dry substrate better than permanent moisture. The watering amount should be significantly reduced, especially in winter or during the rest phase. Caution: some exotic species such as varices (caladia), knight’s star (amaryllis), or some cactus species are not watered at all during the rest phase in late summer or winter.
Medinilla is one of the really big flower stars among the tropical indoor plants
Tip 4: Exotics need warmth
The high heat demand for exotic plants is the main reason why tropical beauties can only be cultivated in our home. Most exotic houseplants need a constant temperature of at least 20 to 25 degrees Celsius for good growth. Be sure to avoid drafts (especially in winter) and put tropical plants aside on the windowsill before ventilating. In winter, many plants take a break, but here too the temperature should not fall below 12 degrees Celsius. Caution: Some tropical plants such as wreaths, desert roses, or Christmas cactus need a cooler phase to set flowers. So they should be moved to a bright, cooler place in good time.
The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) blooms most splendidly after a short rest period
Tip 5: put tropical plants outside
Most indoor plants are good for a few weeks of summer freshness on the terrace in the warm season, including exotic plants. Please note the following rules: Do not put tropical indoor plants outside until the night temperature no longer falls below 12 degrees Celsius. Choose a bright but sheltered place for your exotic animals without full midday sun. Even real sun worshipers like pineapple, yucca, or date palm should get used to the new location slowly to avoid sunburn. Adjust the water supply to the new location and temperatures. Put the plants back in good time in late summer before the night temperatures drop too far.