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Cosy up your home with indoor plants

Bring autumn’s rich colours indoors with houseplants that reflect the gold, orange and russet hues of falling leaves.

If you think philodendrons are just large green leafy plants, think again. Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange’ (below) is likely to be the trending indoor plant for 2023.

This beautiful multi-coloured hybrid from South America continually changes colour. The new leaves emerge as golden orange, mature to copper and finally turn green, so that all three colours are present on the plant.

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But it is not the only houseplant with gorgeous leaves. There is a growing number of houseplants with vivid multi-coloured foliage, in shades of russet, gold, red and pink, and their popularity has much to do with the fact that they instantly cosy up a room.

Plants with orange, red, russet brown and yellow leaves make a room feel warmer, which is just what we need as the days get cooler.

What’s more, warm colours are stimulating, which is why interior designers recommend them for social rooms such as the living room, dining room and kitchen.

Colourful foliage plants stand out in homes where they combined with warmer wood tones and an earthy colour palette or neutral shades of white, or cool grey.


Good to know:

For plants that don’t have much green in their leaves, their most important requirement is bright indirect light or filtered sunlight. The more light, the better they grow and maintain their bright colours.

That is because only the green portion of the leaves, which contain chlorophyll, are able to photosynthesise, the process by which sunlight is converted into oxygen and carbohydrates to feed the plant for its growth.

Keeping the leaves dust free also improves its ability to photosynthesise.

The best place for such plants is close to windows that let in lots of light or in bright, sunny rooms or stoeps.  Filtered or dappled morning light is fine. It’s no problem to display them in positions with lower light for two or three days but then get them back into good light.


6 houseplants to warm up your house this winter.

Ctenanthe ‘Golden Mosaic’ 

Ctenanthe ‘Golden Mosaic’ has large oval leaves that with irregular splashes of yellow alternating with bright green. The leaves are carried fairly upright on thin stems. It stands out when placed with other leafy green plants.



Zantedeschia is loved for its bright trumpet-shaped flowers but the orange-pink variety goes one better and delivers leaves with unusual flame-like colouring. It almost feels as if it is on fire.

To keep it flowering well display it in a bright room, keep the soil moist, and remove the blooms as they die. It can be placed outside once the blooms and leaves have died back. Keep the pot in a cool, semi-shady position and in a few months’ time it will surprise with new shoots. The bulbs can also be planted in the garden, in a position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.


Stromanthe ‘Triostar’

Stromanthe ‘Triostar’ has light pink, cream and green variegated leaves, offset by a vibrant deeper pink on the leaf reverse. It likes warmth and humidity, and consistently moist soil, but not soggy. Water when the top 10cm of soil feels dry and mist its leaves to add to the humidity.

Its best place is a warm room, close to a window (but no draughts), where it may receive some morning filtered sun. It grows relatively slowly and stays relatively compact making it a good plant for the coffee table, windowsill, home office, or patio.


Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange’

Because it is relatively slow growing and compact (up to 60cm high) ‘Prince of orange’ is perfect for smaller spaces. To make the most of its colours, position it to receive plenty of bright, indirect light. It can also take some filtered morning sun. Like all philodendron, ‘Prince of Orange’  likes moist but not wet soil. Water only after the top 3cm of soil has dried. Feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser to encourage large leaves. Rotate every now for a balanced plant.


Alocasia ‘Red Secret’

Alocasia ‘Red Secret’ is one for the collectors, because it is quite unlike any other indoor foliage plant. It’s heart-shaped leaves take on a metallic sheen, but its secret is the deep red underleaf that comes as a surprise. Despite its unusual looks, it easy to grow. It adapts to different light conditions, growing faster with bright light and slower with low light. It likes a warm, humid room but only moderate watering. Water when the topsoil feels dry. Feed with a liquid fertiliser in summer to promote new growth.


Calathea ‘Pinstripe’

Calathea ornate ‘Pinstripe’ has dark green leaves with pinkish-white stripes and a deep reddish-brown to burgundy under-leaf. The stripes appear almost hand painted. Although it grows up to 3m in the wild, as a houseplant it should only grow 1m high and wide. A liquid feed once a month will encourage lush leaves.

For more information visit www.lvgplant.co.za


Article supplied by Alice Coetzee.

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