Some houseplants flower on and off all year -- including during winter, when colorful blossoms are most welcome around the house.
If you are looking for a gift for someone who loves indoor plants, Oregon State University Extension home horticulturalist Ross Penhallegon suggests several houseplants that stand out because of their proclivity for flowering during many parts of the year with less light than normal.
* "Shrimp plant," or Beloperone, is an easy-to-grow shrubby plant that has salmon-colored, prawn-shaped flowers at the end of arching stems. It needs warm days, cool nights and a sunny window.
* "Yesterday, today and tomorrow plant," or Brunfelsia, is a slow-growing evergreen shrub (to 2 feet tall). Flower clusters start out purple, fade to pale violet, then to white. It likes semi-shade in summer, a well-lit spot in winter. It does not like sudden temperature changes.
* African Violets will bloom on sunny windowsills with as little as two hours of sun per day.
* Wax Begonia needs only two hours of sun per day.
* Cape Primrose, if grown with supplemental light, will bloom virtually all year.
* Impatiens can be grown from cuttings of plants grown outside in the summer or purchased. They will bloom indoors under artificial light.
* Lantana and lobelia bloom all year in a window with good sun exposure.
* Firecracker vine blooms periodically through the year in a window with good sun exposure.
* Oxalis, Hoya and Peace lilies are all easy to care for plants that will reward your efforts with an occasional bloom.
"Also, for year-round color, don't ignore the flowering pot plants that have been forced into bud in the greenhouse and can be brought home to burst into color," said Penhallegon. "For example, you can get chrysanthemums, pansies or petunias most any time of the year. They sure cheer things up in January."
Judy Scott is a public affairs and communications specialist for OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications.