Moving the Outside In
This may be the Houseplants Issue, but we’re not going to talk about traditional or rare houseplants. Instead, we’re going to take a dive into varieties that work well outdoors and indoors, so you have options when it comes to satisfying the insatiable houseplant collector’s appetite for the new and unusual (and may get them thinking more about outside gardening). We received way more than we can print here, including several more begonias, so do check out Ellen Wells’ buZZ! and Tropical Topics newsletters to see more of these great options!
Darwin Perennials has a new Artemisia SunFern series that could easily be a houseplant fern, as well as outdoor décor on a patio or porch. This variety won’t spread, is low maintenance and can be trimmed to maintain its shape as needed.
Begonia T REX Stardust from Terra Nova takes plant owners on an other-worldly adventure with a galaxy of colors all year round. It’s tougher and more cold-tolerant than some other foliage begonias, which allows it to stay out on the patio later into the fall and can go back out earlier in the spring.
A versatile bulb series, Heart to Heart caladiums from Proven Winners feature a multitude of color options and the ability to be inside and move outdoors during the summer. Best of all, they do well in sun and shade outdoors, and on a sunny windowsill indoors. Colors range from reds and pinks to violet, greens and white. Pictured: Heart to Heart Scarlet Flame.
Beekenkamp has been developing the Kelos family of celosia with multiple series, and for 2022 it’s launching the Lunar cristata series. Like others in the Kelos family, the Lunar series has been bred for daylength neutrality, but it can still be grown under black cloth, allowing growers to produce it at any time of the year. This series has bright colors, unique flower form and an irresistible velvety texture. These would be ideal in pots, garden borders and beds, and indoors. If it’s inside, it likes a bright spot, but not in full sunlight.
Of any of the garden plants breeders have recently targeted for indoors, coleus seems primed for the move. It took a few tweaks, but Dümmen Orange now has a couple of great options for an indoor coleus that doesn’t require any extra maneuvers, like plant growth regulators, to keep it from stretching in low light. One example of this is Stained Glassworks Le Freak (pictured), which works well in indoors as well as in outdoor shaded pots, even in extreme heat. Another example is the new Great Falls series, which is a small leaf trailing type. These work well in mixed containers and hanging baskets, as well as inside. The series includes Angel, Iguazu, Niagara and Yosemite.
Selecta One has multiple dianthus varieties that would make great indoor flowering potted plants, as well as low-border options for outdoors. Some of these dianthus varieties include Pink Kisses (pictured), Peach Palm, Early Love and Purple Wedding. All would do well on a sunny windowsill to brighten up a home or office.
Syngenta Flowers is now bringing Devotion Echeveria to market (it’s a variety purchased from Hana Bay Flowers). Its rich, velvety leaves and rosette-shaped plant habit will thrill the most ardent houseplant lover. It’ll work outside in temperate to warm climates and as an indoor potted plant.
The scent of a gardenia is heavenly, so it wouldn’t take much to convince customers to bring this blooming beauty inside. J. Berry offers Sweetheart Gardenia, which can fill out a patio container and placed near doorways or on patios in full sun. If it’s being brought indoors, the key here is the sunny spot—it must stay in a bright spot to keep blooming. Don’t forget to tout its other benefits, too, like its heat tolerance and that it makes a great cut flower source.
Let’s talk ornamental peppers. PanAmerican Seed has several options that hold their non-edible (note, non-edible) fruit for many weeks. These can pair up with outdoor décor during the fall or stay inside for pops of peppy peppery color. Hot Pops Purple (pictured) and Chilly Chilli are two great options here. PanAm also has peppers in its Kitchen Minis program that can grow on a sunny windowsill if customers are looking for edible peppers.
Philodendron Shangri-La from Ball Ingenuity is probably the closest we’ve got here to traditional indoor plants (aside from the begonia), but this one is something to talk about. It’s a super compact version of philodendron and branches freely, showing off deeply divided, fresh green leaves on many stems. It won’t vine, and will perform well indoors and in a protected outdoor space. GP