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house plants,varied group of plants grown indoors and requiring no special care. They are usually grown singly in pots, but can also be grouped and planted together in dish gardens and terrariums. Some are cultivated for their flowers, such as geraniums and African violets, while others, such as philodendron and sansevieria (snake plant), are grown for their decorative foliage. Growing house plants successfully can be greatly facilitated in many cases by maintaining a cool temperature and raising the atmospheric moisture either by the use of humidifiers or simply by placing evaporating pans on radiators.
See M. Free, All about House Plants (1947); E. D. Ballard, Garden in Your House (rev. ed. 1971); C. M. Fitch, The Complete Book of Houseplants (1972); G. Taloumis, House Plants for Five Exposures (1973); Reader's Digest, Success with House Plants (1979).
plants grown for ornamentation in homes and public buildings. House plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. There are numerous diverse species of various families, including Begoniaceae, Cactaceae, Palmaceae, and Liliaceae. Some house plants are grown for their beautiful flowers (fuchsia, pelargonium, cyclamen, azalea, amaryllis, Arabian jasmine, and African violet). Others are raised for their ornamental and often brightly colored foliage (dieffenbachia, plants of the genus Pilea, chlorophytum, palm, monstera, philodendron, laurel, and myrtle). House plants are grown predominantly in clay and plastic pots or in wooden tubs. They are planted in a soil nutrient mixture that meets the requirements of each species or group of plants.
Basic care includes regular watering. In the summer plants should be fed weak solutions of mineral fertilizers; in the spring they should be transplanted in fresh soil. Tropical plants grow well in rooms with high temperatures (20°-25°C); however, they require high humidity. Subtropical species, such as laurel, myrtle, oleander, and China rose, can be grown successfully at lower temperatures (10°-12°C). Plants that are native to open deserts grow best with a southern exposure (cacti and other succulent plants, including agaves and aloe). Various ferns and coniferous plants do best near windows that face north. The most hardy house plants are kept in offices and public buildings; these species generally have tough, leathery leaves (sanseviera, monstera, dieffenbachia, dracena, plants of the genus Pica, and peperomia). Common among house plants are groups of cacti, begonias, and bulbous plants. Hanging and climbing plants are also popular (columnea, ivy, tradescantia, and peperomia). Some house plants are grown for their ornamental and, sometimes, edible fruits (lemon, orange, mandarin, and house pepper). By selecting certain species, it is possible to have plants in bloom during almost the entire year. Coniferous and deciduous varieties can also be grown indoors. For example, spruce, pine, larch, oak, plum, and cherry trees have been cultivated indoors in Japan for centuries; special methods are used to retard the growth of these trees, resulting in dwarf plants.
REFERENCESKarneev, I. E. Kul’tura oranzhereino-komnatnykh rastenii. Moscow, 1957.
Kiselev, G. E. Tsvetovodstvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Zhurkova, E. N., and E. Ia. Il’ina. Komnatnye rasteniia. Moscow, 1968.
Verzilin, N. Puteshestvie s domashnimi rasteniiami. Leningrad, 1970. Spravochnik tsvetovoda. Moscow, 1971.
T. M. KLEVENSKAIA