You are here:



QUESTION: hi im growing canterburybells from a seed indoor and hydroponicly i read that they only live 2 yrs is that true? is it possible to keep them alive longer by growing them indoors? thank you for your time

ANSWER: Cynthia,
Canterbury bells are a true biennial, meaning that they grow one year, bloom the next, and then they die. Growing them indoors won't prolong that lifecycle. I have no idea how they'll do hydroponically - you'll have to report back! But if they live (some plants don't do that well when grown this way while others are fine) you'll see that they only grow low foliage the first year, then develop the bloom spike the following year. Inbetween they are usually dormant during the winter chilling period and I'm not sure how you'll provide that winter rest will be an experiment for sure.

Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks agin for your help i have one more question are zinnas like canterbury bells or can they live year after year indoors? is there any type of flower that can live like a houseplant? thank you

ANSWER: Cynthia,
You must be stressed. To be so angry at a volunteer who has tried to help you in the past just isn't very kind or reasonable. Sometimes these emails from AllExperts get sent to my spam folder and I never know that someone has sent a followup question.

Zinnias are annuals that originated in Mexico and they must have sun and heat to do well. They only live for one summer outside, and since they are prone to a variety of leaf diseases they wouldn't do well indoors even in a sunny room or greenhouse without fungicides.

There are a variety of flowering house plants but most of them don't bloom all summer like annuals outdoors do. Some of the easier ones to grow are crown-of-thorns, Christmas cactus, and African violets.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks for being so understanding im sorry agin for what i said i just snaped im not usaly like that. theres just so much going on right now plants are like my escape just something relaxing and im trying to grow plants i know nothing about so its a bit frustrating. as far as the zinna goes i have no were but a north window but i heard that seedings get used to whaterver there raised in as long as they werent use to sun then put into shade rather one or the other if that made sence i dont know is that true? also the seed packet said they could grow in shade so thats why i got it if i had know that it needed sun i wouldn't have started it oops ohwell the flowers look so prety gotta try. i dont know how do you think thell do? its not sunny but its very bright light and its so green i can send a picture if you whant. thanks agin for all your help oh also i agree they are cheerfull. well sorry for the late response i was with family and i didnt think you would speak to me agin after the way i acted sorry agin oh this might clarify things i have a cat and no lawn live in town so i only got one room thats safe for the plant

The truth about plants, Cynthia, is that sometimes they do well against all odds. So you might as well continue to grow them in your north window and see what happens. They will probably get taller than normal as they stretch toward the light, and they might get powdery mildew (grey powder on the leaves) which is something they are prone to inside or out. You'll find out if they will flower in less light or not.

That northern window would be perfect for African violets, however. If you know someone who already has one they are easy to grow from cuttings of a leaf - there are all kinds of Youtube videos that show how to propagate an African violet from a leaf.

Good luck with the zinnias and let me know if they do flower - with plants and gardens we learn to "never say never" and I hope they do OK and go ahead and flower.
all the best,


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


C.L. Fornari


Annuals suggested for specific situations (sun, shade, windowboxes etc) New or unusual annuals are a particular interest of mine, and I grow many of these from seed. I am happy to help problem solve, answer questions about maintenance, and guide you to sources of unusual plants.


I am a garden writer/speaker/consultant and host of a weekly gardening radio program in the Northeast. I have been gardening all my life for my own pleasure, and started as a professional gardener and garden communicator 15 years ago. I work part-time at a garden center, selling and tending shrubs/trees/annuals/perennials...and doing some propagation and design work. I often think that all these professional activities serve to put a somewhat legitimate framework around a serious case of plant-lust.

©2017 All rights reserved.