STAR OF THE SHOW

MOTH ORCHID (PHALAENOPSIS)

You don't have to be an expert to grown an orchid at home. The moth orchid is happiest on a north-facing window sill but not in direct sunlight. It likes humidity, so spray regularly and keep the compost damp. Ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. The downside is that the orchids don't come cheap, expect to pay around pounds 30.

THE LONG TERM PARTNER

HIBISCUS

In the tropics, this can grow into an enormous flowering shrub. You are unlikely to achieve that in your living room, but it is long-lasting: it can live up to 20 years - a good investment at around pounds 8. It likes direct sunlight to flower. Blooms only last a day or two but should last from spring to autumn. In the summer, water it three or four times a week.

THE EXOTIC LOOK

BEAUCARNEA RECURVATA

This is bound to be a talking point - its straggly leaves are strongly reminiscent of Medusa's head. It's hardy and easy to look after: it only needs watering every 10 days in summer and withstands plenty of sun - but costs around pounds 30.

THE BEST VALUE

DRACAENA MARGINATA

This tree is great for those on a tight budget, at pounds 10. According to David Domoney, it's tougher than a yucca and perfect for a corner in a living room - it can grow up to 10ft and makes a great feature.

THE TROPICAL FLOWER

ANTHURIUM (PICTURED LEFT)

Has an exotic red flower and a phallic-looking yellow waxy "palette", so it's ideal for adding colour to a room. Likes to be in a bright spot, but not directly in sun. In enough light, it can flower all year round - hard to achieve in the British winter. A tropical plant, it's used to 12 hours of daylight so tends suffer in the winter. Keep it in the kitchen where it can get plenty of artificial light. Costs from pounds 10.

FRESH FRUIT

CITRUS FRUIT TREES

These are easy to grow indoors - and produce fruit, but there are no guarantees as to the taste. Ideal for a sunny window sill. The only drawback is they take six years to produce fruit, so if you are after oranges you will need to buy a mature tree (price around pounds 30).

ON THE BEACH

KENTIA

This palm is evocative of exotic holidays - but it actually prefers a cool spot. A big plant can cost more than pounds 50, but it's hardy. Feed it half a pint of water or so twice a week.

BLOW THE BUDGET

BAMBOO

You can grow a bamboo from a cutting at home. It needs a bright position. Water three to four times a week in warm weather. A small plant costs pounds 50; for giant ones you will pay hundreds. It only lives for five to six years so is a bit of a luxury.

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE

SANSEVIERA

Very popular. Puts up with almost anything. Most popular one is the trifasciata laurentii (around pounds 10) which has golden edges; there are smaller ones with petal-like leaves.

YOUR RELIABLE FRIEND PEACE LILY (SPATHIPHYLLUM)

A sort of flowering version of the more naff aspidistra. It will survive most forms of abuse (except over-watering and sunburn), and grows pretty much anywhere. Costs from pounds 5-10.

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