Photo: Gilrane (flickr)
Many tropical plants, and also some temperate zone plants that resemble tropicals, make excellent house plants in cold climates.
One fairly easy to grow but underused example is the South East Asian native with the common name of jewel orchid. Its botanical name is ludisia discolor.
This is a plant that grows in soil in a pot, and it has narrow leaves. The color of the leaves varies from dark red to maroon and there is striking veining. The leaves grow on succulent stems that hang over the sides of the pot. The flowers appear in late winter to mid spring and are white in color and a little like snapdragons in form.
This plant likes cool temperatures at night and soil that stays just slightly moist, so do not over water it. Afternoon shade is best, so they do not like a windowsill on the western side of the house.
Jewel orchids are available with several different types of patterned leaves with silver-gold veining. This type of foliage guarantees a handsome house plant even when it is not in bloom. The name is a little deceptive because this plant is not like the orchids that grow on trees.