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Indoor plants with a big heart

February is the month of hearts and you may be surprised how many of your favourite indoor plants have heart-shaped leaves too.

Eye-catching indoor plants are distinguished by their leaf shapes and textures, especially those with green heart-shaped leaves. Think of the elephant ear and all its variations, philodendrons, anthurium, alocasia, fancy leaf begonias, poinsettia and even calathea.

Houseplants with heart-shaped leaves add a tropical lushness to interiors, and they fit in almost anywhere, needing low to medium light. Those with coloured or variegated leaves, however, do better with bright light, but not direct sunlight. They are also not fussy when it comes to watering, preferring less and not more.

Most are slow to medium growers and there are dwarf versions, such as Monstera minima and Alocasia bambino.

The one bit of fussing you can do, is to keep their leaves clean and dust free by wiping them down with a damp cloth. They also like a humid environment which can be created by grouping plants together, misting the foliage or placing the pots on pebbles in a water-filled saucer.

 

5 very different indoor plants with heart-shaped leaves

Anthurium have glossy heart-shaped leaves and ‘flowers’ (which are actually leaves) which make it an exotic and striking indoor plant that produces flowers all year round. It has minimal water needs and should only be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. It grows in medium to bright light and likes a warm, humid environment. The brighter the light the more compact the plant. Anthuriums come in shades of red, white, pink, orange, green and variegated.


Begonia Maculata is better known as the  ‘Polka Dot plant‘ because of its cheerful olive-green and white spotted leaves with a reddish under leaf. This begonia likes bright indirect light or filtered sun. It even survives in lower light, but its leaves will burn if exposed to direct sunlight. Water once a week but be careful of over-watering. If the soil is still moist when you check it, wait another day or two and check again. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month in summer. As a bonus alongside its colourful leaves, Polka dot produces sprays of white flowers in summer.

Alocasia ‘Red Secret’ is one of the most unusual indoor plants because of the metallic sheen of its heart shaped leaves. Like the equally unusual ‘Dragon Scale’ this outlandish plant is one for the collectors. Yet it is 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 Roseopicta ‘Jessie’  has beautiful leaves with a wide band of pink around the leaf edges and a pink central leaf vein. The primary leaf colour is dark green to nearly black. The underside of the leaf is burgundy. It is an easy to grow indoor plant that likes bright indirect light, and a warm, humid room. A liquid feed once a month will encourage lush leaves.

String of Hearts (Ceropegia Woodii) is an unusual trailing plant with small heart-shaped green and silver variegated leaves, strung together by tough, wire-like stems. Being a succulent, it is water wise and fuss free. Let the soil almost dry out and then water thoroughly, allowing all the water to drain away. It tolerates low light but will thrive in brighter, indirect light and the variegation will be stronger. It is ideal as a small hanging basket plant.

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