African violets are among the easiest to grow flowering houseplants. They bloom year-round with little effort. Choose from hundreds of varieties and forms, some with variegated foliage or ruffled or white-edged blooms. African violet likes warm conditions and filtered sunlight. Avoid getting water on the fuzzy leaves; cold water causes unsightly brown spots.
Tropical hibiscus is the ultimate plant for creating a touch of the tropics. It forms huge blooms, up to 8 inches in diameter, on a shrubby upright plant that you can train to grow as a tree. Individual blossoms last only a day or two, but plants bloom freely from late spring through fall and occasionally through winter. Keep the soil uniformly moist and give the plant as much indoor light as possible to keep it blooming.
Crepe-paper-like blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, or yellow dangle among leaves like festive lanterns. Many varieties have splotched or variegated foliage for extra interest. Grow the plant upright as a tree, prune it back to keep it shrubby, or even grow it in a hanging basket. Its common name comes from the leaves, which resemble those of a maple tree.
Oxalis bears triangular, clover-like purple leaves and an almost constant show of pink or white blooms. Look for varieties that have plain green foliage with or without silvery accents. Oxalis grows from small bulbils in the soil; you can divide these any time the plant becomes crowded in its pot.