If you’re like me, chances are you live in the northern half of the United States. If you’re really like me, you’re sitting somewhere in the midwest. Much of the northern portion of the United States sits in zones one through six, which is important to take into consideration when choosing plants. Unfortunately, this means that tropical plants are a no-no for most of us. Thankfully, there are many tropical plants that can be kept indoors in these cold weather regions. This article will give you a brief overview of the many different tropical plants (including scientific names, so you can be sure you’ve got the right plant) that can be grown indoors.
However, it should be noted that in the right weather conditions, these plants can be brought outdoors in pots for a few hours at a time, but never overnight.
Belgian Evergreen (Dracaena sanderiana)
Also known as the variegated corn plant, this shrub is of medium size and is native to the tropical regions of Congo in Africa. It can thrive in full sun or partial shade but does not produce any flowers.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
The Boston Fern is one of 30 different tropical sword ferns belonging to Nephrolepis. In terms of ferns, it is a medium sized species that thrives indoors due to it’s low light level requirements. In the summer, like many plants on this list, it can be brought outdoors but should still be kept in a low light area, such as a covered deck.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)
Though it is named the Chinese Evergreen, this house plant actually originates from the tropical regions of the Philippines. Due to it’s small size, it is ideal for use in tropical terrariums, according to Texas A&M University.
Eyelash Begonia (Begonia boweri)
The Eyelash Begonia, also known as the Miniature Begonia, is a plant native to the tropical regions of Mexico. It produces pink flowers which bloom in the winter and the early spring.
Mosaic Plant (Fittonia verschafeltii)
Also commonly referred to as the Nerve Plant and the Painted Net Leaf, this tropical plant from South America thrives in bright light or in shade, making it highly adaptable. The leaves are olive green in color, with colorful veins that can be lighter shades of green or even red, depending upon the exact species. Though it can produce flowers, it rarely does when grown indoors as a house plant.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
In terms of palm trees, the Parlor Palm is a smaller species that is ideal for indoor growing. It produces large leaves and overall can reach a height of four feet. The soil should be kept “slightly damp,” and the plant should be provided plenty of “bright, cool light” to thrive, according to Texas A&M University.
Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
Swiss Cheese Plants get their name from the holes found in their large, unusual shaped leaves. This house plant is native to the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America and thrives best in “partial sun or shade,” according to information provided by the University of Connecticut.
Resources and Additional Information:
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
University of Hawaii: Dracaena sanderiana
University of Florida: Boston Fern Production Guide
University of Connecticut: Aglaonema commutatum
Texas A&M University: Plants Suitable for Tropical Terrariums
University of Oklahoma: Eyelash Begonia
University of Vermont: Fittonia verschaffeltii
Texas A&M University: Parlor Palm
University of Connecticut: Monstera deliciosa