10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

See More

Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

View Slideshow

Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

View Video

Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

See More

How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

View Video

Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

View Video

Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

View Slideshow
Popular in Gardening

24 Beautiful Blooming Houseplants

Find fragrance and beauty in flowering houseplants. The blooming beauties described in this slide show will help you find the best ones for your home.

X

    Everything in this slideshow

    • African Violet

      African violets are among the easiest to grow flowering houseplants. They bloom year-round with little effort. Choose from hundreds of varieties and forms, some with variegated foliage or ruffled or white-edged blooms. African violet likes warm conditions and filtered sunlight. Avoid getting water on the fuzzy leaves; cold water causes unsightly brown spots.

      Here's a tip: It's easy to start new plants; simply cut off a leaf and root it in moist potting mix.

      Why We Love It: If you have a bright window, this plant will bloom almost constantly. They're also really versatile, blooming in almost every color to match your decor. Plus, it's a sentimental, old-fashioned plant that reminds us of our grandmothers.

      Name: Saintpaulia ionantha

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 8 inches tall and 16 inches wide

    • Hibiscus

      Tropical hibiscus is the ultimate plant for creating a touch of the tropics. It forms huge blooms, up to 8 inches in diameter, on a shrubby upright plant that you can train to grow as a tree. Individual blossoms last only a day or two, but plants bloom freely from late spring through fall and occasionally through winter. Keep the soil uniformly moist and give the plant as much indoor light as possible to keep it blooming.

      Why We Love It: The giant blooms are eye-catching and irresistible. Plus, hibiscus come in a dizzying array of colors -- from shades of red to pink to orange, yellow, white, and even blue.

      Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 55-70 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide

    • Flowering Maple

      Crepe-paper-like blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, or yellow dangle among leaves like festive lanterns. Many varieties have splotched or variegated foliage for extra interest. Grow the plant upright as a tree, prune it back to keep it shrubby, or even grow it in a hanging basket. Its common name comes from the leaves, which resemble those of a maple tree.

      Here's a tip: If blooms drop, check the watering. Uneven watering can cause flowers to fall.

      Why We Love It: This fast-growing plant is almost constantly in bloom.

      Name: Abutilon x hybridum

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    • Oxalis

      Oxalis bears triangular, clover-like purple leaves and an almost constant show of pink or white blooms. Look for varieties that have plain green foliage with or without silvery accents. Oxalis grows from small bulbils in the soil; you can divide these any time the plant becomes crowded in its pot.

      Why We Love It: The shamrock-shape leaves are beautiful and charming. Plus, it's a great gift on St. Patrick's Day.

      Name: Oxalis triangularis

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 12 inches tall and wide

    • Peace Lily

      Peace lily is an easy-care plant that tolerates low light and low humidity. Flowers consist of a showy spoon-shape white spathe and spike of creamy white flowers. Bloom is heaviest in summer, but many varieties bloom throughout the year. The glossy, lance-shape leaves are attractive even when the plant has no blooms.

      Why We Love It: Its large green leaves create instant tropical appeal and it's one of the most common and easy flowering houseplants you can grow.

      Name: Spathiphyllum wallisii

      Growing Conditions: Low to bright light; 60-85 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide

      Note: This plant is poisonous and can make children or pets ill if they eat or chew on the plant.

    • Anthurium

      Anthuriums bloom in festive shades of pink, red, lavender, or white, and last for two months or more. They also make a long-lasting cut flower if you can bear to cut them. Anthurium needs medium to bright light to bloom well, but can be grown as a foliage plant with less light.

      Why We Love It: Its cute factor: The flowers and foliage are both heart-shaped.

      Name: Anthurium andraeanum

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-80 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist, barely moist in fall and winter

      Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

      Note: This plant is poisonous and can cause illness if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

    • Jasmine

      There are many types of jasmine. Many-flowered jasmine (J. polyanthum, pictured), and Arabian jasmine (J. sambac) are two of the easiest to grow; just give them plenty of light and moisture. They'll all bear fragrant pink to white blooms on vining plants.

      Why We Love It: The beautiful pink or white blooms are the some of the most fragrant you'll find on any houseplant.

      Name: Jasminum spp.

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 60-75 degrees F., 40-60 degrees F. in winter; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide

    • Kaffir Lily

      Kaffir lily is also commonly called clivia. As a houseplant it usually blooms in winter with clusters of up to 20 reddish orange or yellow tubular flowers. Clivia blooms only when it has been exposed to cool, dry conditions, so give it lower temperatures in winter and keep it on the dry side. With its deep green straplike leaves aligned in a single plane, the plant is attractive even when not in bloom.

      Why We Love It: It's extra easy to grow and the flowers brighten up January days when there's not a lot else in bloom.

      Name: Clivia miniata

      Growing Conditions: Medium light; 60-75 degrees F., 50-55 degrees F. in winter; keep soil barely moist

      Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

      Note: This plant is poisonous and can make children or pets ill if they eat or chew on the plant.

    • Streptocarpus

      Also called Cape primrose, streptocarpus blooms almost continuously if given the right conditions. Most of the hundreds of hybrid varieties available bear trusses of pink, white, purple, or red flowers, often with contrasting white or yellow throats. With the exception of providing cooler winter temperatures, treat it as you would its cousin, African violet.

      Why We Love It: The gorgeous flowers come in a wide range of colors and the plants are easy to grow and propagate.

      Name: Streptocarpus x hybridus

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 70-80 degrees F., 60-65 degrees F. in winter; keep soil barely moist

      Size: To 18 inches tall and 30 inches wide

    • 10 of 26

      Calamondin Orange

      This hybrid between mandarin orange and kumquat bears fragrant white blossoms in late winter or spring. The wonderfully fragrant flowers develop into showy 1-inch-diameter orange fruits on a shrubby plant with glossy green foliage. Fruits can remain on the plant for many weeks.

      Why We Love It: You can harvest the fruits after they ripen and use them like lemons or kumquats or make them into marmalade.

      Name: x Citrofortunella microcarpa

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 65-80 degrees F., 55-65 degrees F. in winter; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 4 feet tall and wide

    • 11 of 26

      Christmas Cactus

      Many of the plants sold as Christmas cactus are a closely related species sometimes called Thanksgiving cactus, because it usually blooms a few weeks earlier than Christmas cactus. Both types flower in response to cool temperatures and short day length. In fall, keep the plant in a sunny, cool, frost-free location until you see flower buds beginning to develop.

      Why We Love It: It's an old-fashioned favorite with exotically shaped blooms.

      Name: Schlumbergera x buckleyi

      Growing Conditions: Bright light; 70-80 degrees F., 55 degrees F. in fall; keep soil moderately dry

      Size: To 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide

    • 12 of 26

      Brazilian Fireworks

      Wondering where this plant received its moniker? The fireworks part of its name comes from two sources: In late spring and summer it sends up deep red flower bracts that develop lavender flowers, creating an explosion of color. And then, as flowers fade, it can shoot its small black seeds across a room. Like many houseplants, it's also a great choice for growing outdoors in a shade garden.

      Why We Love It: It's always attractive. You never have to worry about what it looks like when it's done blooming because the beautiful leaves are marked with silver.

      Name: Porphyrocoma pohliana 'Maracas'

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-80 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    • 13 of 26

      Crown-of-Thorns

      This poinsettia relative tolerates neglect, as long as you give it bright to intense light and keep it on the dry side. It has thick, spiny gray-brown stems that are sparsely branched.

      Why We Love It: It's an easy-care, low-water plant whose colorful bract-like flowers last for weeks.

      Name: Euphorbia milii

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil moderately dry

      Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

      Note: This plant is poisonous and the milky sap can cause illness or skin irritation if eaten or chewed by children or pets. It's also very thorny.

    • 14 of 26

      Gloxinia

      Gloxinia usually flowers in late winter or early spring, bearing 3-inch-wide bell-shape blooms in rich colors, often marked with contrasting bands or speckles of white. Closely related to African violets, it prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. Keep water off the foliage to prevent leaf spots. After gloxinia blooms fade, allow the plant to go dormant by withholding water. When new growth begins again, resume watering.

      Why We Love It: The huge, bell-shaped flowers are simply gorgeous.

      Name: Sinningia speciosa

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-80 degrees F., 55-75 degrees F. when dormant; keep soil evenly moist except when dormant

      Size: To 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide

    • 15 of 26

      Guppy Plant

      This African violet relative blooms most in summer, but if it has enough light, will flower all year long. Some other species bear their blooms on long stalks that dangle like a fishing line with a goldfish at the end of the line. The arching stems and dangling blooms of guppy plant make it a good choice for hanging baskets.

      Why We Love It: How can you not love a plant whose flowers look like goldfish! It's a fun plant for getting children excited about houseplants.

      Name: Nematanthus spp.

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-80 degrees F., 50-55 degrees F. in winter; keep soil moderately dry

      Size: To 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    • 16 of 26

      Lipstick Plant

      This African violet relative is great for hanging baskets because it produces arching stems with showy flowers that dangle from branch tips. The tubular paired flowers have dark purple cups encircling scarlet flowers. The plant blooms heaviest in fall, but can flower sporadically year round. If you take it outdoors in summer, the red flowers may attract hummingbirds.

      Why We Love It: It's an easy-to-grow plant with flashy red flowers that really do look like tubes of lipstick.

      Name: Aeschynanthus radicans

      Growing Conditions: Medium light; 60-80 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 20 inches tall and 36 inches wide

    • 17 of 26

      Shrimp Plant

      Shrimp plant is a fast-growing shrub that can be kept compact by hard pruning. It's a good bloomer, producing flower spikes all year. Most varieties bear spikes of shrimp pink bracts with white tubular flowers. Others form yellow or chartreuse bracts that last a long time.

      Why We Love It: It has some of the most interesting blooms of any houseplant. Your friends will definitely notice it.

      Name: Justicia brandegeeana

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    • 18 of 26

      Ixora

      Ixora is sometimes called flame of the woods, because of its glowing orange, red, and yellow flower clusters. Its leathery foliage emerges bronze but turns glossy green. Give ixora abundant light, warmth, and humidity, but allow the soil to dry on the surface between waterings. Prune stems to keep the plant compact if they become leggy.

      Why We Love It: Its big clusters of orange, pink, red, or yellow flowers are wonderful treats on winter days.

      Name: Ixora coccinea

      Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-80 degrees F.; keep soil moderately dry

      Size: To 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide

    • 19 of 26

      Geranium

      Several types of geraniums are grown as houseplants. Regal or Martha Washington geranium, pictured, has the largest, showiest blooms, but requires cool growing conditions. The common garden geranium (P. x hortorum), and ivy geranium (P. peltatum), also offer showy flowers but on easier-growing plants. Most scented geraniums are grown primarily for their deeply divided, fragrant foliage rather than their flowers, which are insignificant.

      Why We Love It: It's so easy to grow that it's practically no-fail.

      Name: Pelargonium spp.

      Growing Conditions: Bright to intense light; 60-75 degrees F.; keep soil moderately dry

      Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

    • 20 of 26

      Angel-Wing Begonia

      Several species are commonly called angel-wing begonia. All, including Begonia coccinea (pictured) are upright growing, sometimes reaching 6 feet tall. But by pinching back tall stems you can keep plants bushy and in the 2- to 3-foot range. In addition to having attractive green, silver, and maroon foliage, angel-wing begonias freely bloom with clusters of red, pink, or white blossoms.

      Why We Love It: Its beautiful wing-shaped leaves are just as attractive as the blooms so it's pretty all year long.

      Name: Begonia coccinea

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide

      Note: The roots and stems can cause painful irritation of the mouth, lips, or throat if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

    • 21 of 26

      Rieger Begonia

      Rieger begonia is one of the winter-blooming begonias. It has fibrous roots with a swollen tuber-like base. Clusters of camellia-like blossoms in warm colors ranging from yellow to orange and red appear on top of glossy green foliage. Rieger begonia looks good as a tabletop plant or in a hanging basket.

      Why We Love It: It's an easy-to-grow plant with gorgeous, rose-shaped blooms.

      Name: Begonia x hiemalis

      Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 18 inches tall and wide

      Note: The roots and stems can cause painful irritation of the mouth, lips, or throat if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

    • 22 of 26

      Wax Begonia

      Popular as an outdoor bedding plant, you can also grow wax begonia indoors where it will bloom all year if it has enough light and good air movement. Simply take cuttings of your plants in the garden for your indoor garden. The cuttings root quickly in water or moist potting soil.

      Here's a tip: Make sure it has good air circulation, otherwise it may be attacked by fungal diseases.

      Why We Love It: It's an easy bloomer with waxy foliage and colorful red, white, or pink flowers.

      Name: Begonia semperflorens

      Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; keep soil evenly moist

      Size: To 18 inches tall or wide

      Note: The roots and stems can cause painful irritation of the mouth, lips, or throat if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

    • 23 of 26

      Guzmania

      This member of the pineapple family has stiff glossy green, toothed foliage arranged in an upright vase shape. A shoot with colorful bracts arises from the center of the vase. The bright blooms may remain attractive for up to six months. Guzmania likes warm temperatures during its growth cycle, but bracts will last longer if you keep the plant cool while it is in bloom.

      Why We Love It: Its colorful red, orange, yellow, or purple flower bracts look very tropical and exotic. It's a great conversation piece.

      Name: Guzmania lingulata

      Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-80 degrees F., 60-65 degrees F. in winter; keep soil moderately dry, but water in the vase

      Size: To 3 feet tall and wide
      Another beautiful houseplant: Add orchids and keep them healthy with our tips.

    • 24 of 26

      Silver Vase Plant

      The stiff, gray-green leaves of this pineapple relative are edged with spines and form an upright vase or urn shape. Silver vase plant sends up a large cluster of long-lasting pink bracts that bear short-lived purple flowers. After the bracts fade, new offshoots, called pups, develop at the base of the mother plant.

      Here's a tip: Pour water directly into the vase to provide moisture for the plant.

      Why We Love It: It's one of the most dramatic, easy indoor plants you can grow.

      Name: Aechmea fasciata

      Growing Conditions: Bright light; 65-75 degrees F.; water the foliage vase rather than the soil

      Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

    • Bring Blooming Branches Inside
      25 of 26

      Bring Blooming Branches Inside

      Cut a handful of branches from your winter or early spring garden and bring them indoors. Then use our handy instructions to force them into beautiful bloom. Our tips work for lilacs, forsythia, and other flowering shrubs.

    • 26 of 26
      Next Slideshow 24 of the Easiest Houseplants You Can Grow

      24 of the Easiest Houseplants You Can Grow

      Grow these no-fuss houseplants to bring life and color to your home.
      Begin Slideshow »

      Related

    close
    close
    close
    close
    close

    Loading... Please wait...