Almost any indoor environment is more pleasant and attractive when living plants are a part of the setting. In apartments, condominiums and single family residences, plants add warmth, personality and year-round beauty. Shopping centers, hotels and resorts take full advantage of the colorful, relaxed atmosphere created by green and flowering plants. Offices, banks and other commercial buildings rely on interior plants to "humanize" the work environment and increase productivity.
Poinsettias are the traditional Christmas plant because of their colorful bracts. The bracts are actually modified leaves and the yellow cyathia in the center of the bracts are the true flowers. Plant breeders have introduced many new cultivars over the past few years and there are more than 100 cultivars currently available. The array of colors range from red, pink, white, salmon, to bicolors. With these new, longer lasting cultivars being available, it is possible for a properly cared for poinsettia to remain beautiful in the home for 2 to 3 months.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinths to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called forcing. This practice is carried out world-wide by commercial flower growers. With planning and effort, any homeowner can have a steady supply of bulb flowers from late December through April. Forcing bulbs is a rewarding challenge to those interested in the growth and development of plants.
The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a true bulb that originated in the tropical areas of South America. Thus, it is a tender bulb. It performs best when grown under warm (70 to 75 °F) temperatures for 9 to 10 months to promote flowering and vegetative growth, followed by 2 to 3 months of either cool (55°F) dry storage or cool (55°F) growing conditions. The use of one of the latter conditions is required to promote reflowering of the bulb.
"Paperwhite" Narcissus is one of the easiest flower bulbs for homeowners to force. Commercially, several types are available. Some cultivars (varieties) have pure white flowers while others have white perianths with light yellow cups. Paperwhites originate in the Mediterranean and are tender bulbs. Thus, they can be grown outside only in Climatic zones 8 to 11. Unless one lives in one of these zones, forced bulbs should be discarded.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils (Narcissus) to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called "forcing." This practice is carried out by commercial growers the world over. With a little care and effort, homeowners can have a steady supply of daffodils (Narcissus) from late December through April. Forcing bulbs should be a challenge to those who are interested in plants.