Add beautiful blooms and amazing foliage indoors with these tropical flowers for the home.
If you think the only way to have stunning flowers inside is by cutting them from your garden or buying them at a store, then you haven't considered tropical flowers for the home. Try one of these 18 plants for a warm-weather burst of color indoors.
African violet (Saintpaulia) produces a single rosette of velvety smooth or hairy, dark green leaves on short leafstalks. It bears clusters of single, semidouble, or double flowers in white, pink, red, violet, purple, blue, lime green, pale yellow, or bicolor. Petals of this tropical flower for the home are ruffled, rounded, or fringed, and dead leaves and flowers should be removed promptly.
Learn more about African violet.
Often forced to bloom around the winter holidays, amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bears clusters of trumpet-shape flowers 8-10 inches wide in single or double blooms and in lots of colors. Pot it in autumn and put in a bright spot; provide constant watering and fertilizing until the plant goes dormant in summer.
Learn more about amaryllis.
Much beloved as a tropical flower for the home for its stately, bright blooms, Anthurium is available in literally hundreds of varieties that adapt to the low light and erratic humidity of most homes. The flower's beautiful bract, or spathe, lasts a month and many repeat bloom.
Often used as an annual outside, Begonia makes a pretty indoor plant, too. Many produce foliage that's just as attractive as the clusters of small blooms. Most begonias are easy to grow, particularly if they receive a good quantity of sunlight during the day.
Striking and unusual, bromeliad blooms only once, then slowly -- sometimes over several years -- reproduces by forming offshoots and dies. Pups emerge that can be repotted as their own plants. Bromeliads have tricky care requirements depending on their root systems, so be sure to investigate the type you are buying and know its needs if used as a tropical flower for the home.
The elegant flower of the calla (Zantedeschia) is actually a spathe that curls around a column of fragrant yellow true flowers. The tallest of these tropical flowers for the home can reach 3 feet or more; calla is available in white, pink, yellow, orange, or red.
Learn more about calla.
Also called red-hot cat's-tail, this tropical flower (Acalypha repens) for the home is actually a shrub that produces downy red flower spikes and flowers in spring and summer, and sometimes all year. Keep it away from children and pets; its sap is slightly poisonous and irritates the skin.
A woody shrub, Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) bears huge saucer-shape single or double blooms in pink, red, yellow, orange, or white. Each flower lasts only one day, but the plant may bloom all year long if fertilized. The more sun the plant gets, the better it blooms.
A small shrub with tiny needlelike, dark green leaves, cigar flower (Cuphea) produces half-inch flowers in red, pink, or white. It blooms through fall and sometimes in winter.
Large clusters of trumpet-shape orange blooms top leathery, dark green leaves on this tropical flower for the home. The flowers fade in late spring and are followed by ornamental red berries. Clivia should be repotted infrequently as it takes years to bloom.
More than 150 species of Columnea exist. They can be smooth or hairy; thin or thick and waxy; and dark or light green, bronze, or variegated with small orange, red, or yellow tubular flowers.
Related to amaryllis, Crinum lily produces tall, strappy leaves and funnel-shape pink, red, or white flowers. It's particularly fragrant when blooming in late spring or summer, and it must be kept abundantly moist. Its sap is somewhat toxic, so if used as a tropical flower for the home, handle the plant with gloves and keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
Learn more about crinum lily.
Backed by heart-shape, dark green and silver mottled leaves, Cyclamen supplies bright butterfly-shape flowers from autumn through spring. When used as a tropical flower for the home, cyclamen must be placed in cooler conditions.
Click here to learn about another showy foliage plant: Venus flytrap.
With large glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant creamy white flowers, the common Gardenia blooms from spring through fall. It's tricky when used as a tropical flower for the home -- it won't set flowers when warmer than 65 degrees F at night; it also needs high humidity and lots of sunlight, so it works best in a cool greenhouse.
Learn more about gardenia.
Dark purple tubular cups with a scarlet flower bud appear at the ends of lipstick plant's (Aeschynanthus) branches. It blooms sporadically when used as a tropical flower for the home and is accented by dark green leaves. Lipstick plant requires full sun or supplemental light to bloom, and it can be placed outside in warm-weather months.
Pretty, white-veined foliage and colorful blooms distinguish the monkey plant (Ruellia makoyana). When used as a tropical flower for the home, its trumpet-shape rose-red flowers appear in fall and winter, and the plant can be formed into a small shrub.
The orchid is better known for its striking flowers than for its foliage. It's a varied group of plants with many different growing requirements, meaning there's a suitable orchid for nearly every environment. Be sure to research how you'll need to tend yours before you purchase one.
Learn about easy orchids to grow as houseplants.
Check out some of our favorite easy-to-grow orchids.
The distinctive flower of peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a pure white bract that forms a softly curved backdrop for the central column of tiny, closely set flowers. It's reliable for its attractive deep green foliage.