Decorating with House Plants

Decorating with House Plants

There is no need to limit yourself to putting a single plant pot on a convenient shelf when decorating with house plants. Think how you can use the wide variety of indoor plants now available as part of your decoration scheme. You can even change your scheme every few months if you like.

For instance, hanging and climbing plants, such as ivies, rhoicissus and tradescantia, can be used as room dividers or put on bookshelves, or placed in troughs on the floor and trained to climb up canes to the ceiling.

You can train cissus and philodendron as living decoration round mirrors or up and along window frames.

Why not try using a bottle garden where you want something decorative to fill up a difficult space? Bottle gardens will survive almost decorating with houseplants anywhere and are particularly easy to look after.

Aspidistras have come back into their own again, with their large, handsome, dark-green leaves, and their amenability to almost any sort of care and conditions. The variegated form with cream coloured edges to the leaves is especially striking, but any aspidistra can look very attractive. Put them where they can be seen, not hidden apologetically in a dark corner.

Plants used as focal points can be placed in decorative pot hiders. Or you could look around your junk room – there is bound to be some sort of attractive container in there, not necessarily especially for pots, which could be used.

Try filling up the bathroom with plants, putting them on the tiles surrounding the bath, on shelves or window sills. Most plants take very well to bathroom conditions, provided there is some light from a window. You may find yourself spending hours in the bath, looking at the plants, deciding how to grow them and what else to get, but no matter, how relaxing!

Kitchens, too, are good places, and although gas in the atmosphere sometimes causes trouble, there are some plants which seem oblivious to it. The humidity and warmth of a kitchen are just right for many of the jungle plants like stag’s-horn ferns, gynura and codiaeus, and in no time at all you will be battling your way through them to get at the herb shelf, or put a saucepan on the stove.

Groups of plants are more interesting than small, isolated specimens. Try putting them in different places in the room until you get them in the right one. Use them as you would furniture and pictures, for decoration. Hang them on the wall; stand one of the tree-like ones, such as grevillea or schefflera, by a table or standard lamp; or put a trough near a window and fill that with plants.

decorating with houseplants 2 In other words when decorating with house plants use them lavishly, and experiment with placing them around your home. Start with easy-to-grow ones and use several of one kind to give an effect of abundance – don’t worry that they are all the same – and go on from there. As you gain experience try growing the more difficult, and often more ornamental, kinds. Remember the throwaway plants – even if you don’t like the idea of discarding a plant – they often produce abundant flowers for two or three months, so you will have them much longer than a bunch of cut flowers. Then, when they finish, you can replace them and change to a totally new colour scheme for another few months.

Plastic white or green tower pots are very attractive and go well with modern décor. The plants are put into small cups jutting out from the side of the tower and can trail or grow upwards; they can be planted in the top as well. With old beams and inglenook fireplaces try plant stands made of bamboo or wrought iron.

A miniature garden in a large dish or shallow pan can be great fun to design. You can put lawns, paths, a little pool (a mirror), a bridge, a bonsai tree, and tiny statues in it; or you could try to produce a replica of a desert scene, with sand and pebbles, small cacti and succulents and even an oasis.

If you decide to arrange a group of plants in a single large container, make sure you use plants which all like the same conditions of warmth, watering, humidity and light. For instance, it would be no good putting a pick a back plant with a pelargonium; one wants coolness, water and a good light, while the other needs all the sun possible, little moisture and plenty of warmth.

A plant which proves unexpectedly easy to grow in the modern home, and has a most dramatic appearance, is the ‘delicious monster’, Monstera deliciosa, also called the Swiss cheese plant. Originally from tropical monsoon forests it has really large leaves, deeply slashed at the edges. It also has holes in the leaves. When the light shines through these and casts shadows onto a white wall, the combination of silhouette and the plant itself is extremely effective. But be warned: it is a large plant and steadily unfurls one large leaf after another – 2 m (7 ft) is by no means its final height.

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