Displaying Plants on Shelves

Shelves are essential for storage, and plants can be used very effectively to make them more attractive, placed among the objects displayed. In each room requirements differ.

In the living room

Large shelving units that run along one wall are popular for living rooms. Here all the necessary bits and pieces can be stored, allowing the rest of the room to be free of clutter. An arrangement of trailing, climbing and bushy plants will break up the straight lines made by the shelves. If the unit is on the far wall from the window, and so lacks sufficient light for healthy plant growth, add fluorescent tubes under a shelf. This will give light and show off the plants.

In the hall

Shelves come into their own in halls, which are nearly always small or narrow and allow no space for furniture. Use for all the clutter like letters, papers, phone, pad and phone books, and include a specimen plant to create interest. A climber such as Syngonium, Kangaroo Vine or Burgundy Philodendron, attached to a frame, will create maximum effect in a small space.

In the kitchen Displaying Plants on Shelves

Shelves form the most practical type of kitchen storage as they can be placed at a height where things are most easily reached. If the kitchen contains a good ventilation system, dirt and grease will not be a problem.

Here plants will provide a decorative element. Choose Rosemary, Bay, Parsley, Chives, Basil, Mint and Thyme, so they can be easily snipped when required.

In the bathroom

Storage space is in short supply in most bathrooms, so a narrow unit screening off the WC could provide useful extra storage space and a humid spot for some favourite plants. Or put glass shelves across the window to hold trailing plants, and provide a decorative screen.

In the bedroom Displaying Plants on Shelves 2

In a small bedroom you could build in a series of triangular-shaped corner shelves to house trailing plants like Columnea, Piggyback Plant and English Ivy— creating a waterfall of greenery.

Arranging a collection

Plants of one type can look very effective arranged together. Other suggestions for plant collections are Ferns, Bulbs and small leafed creepers like Mind-Your-Own-Business, Bead Plant and Club Moss.

Shelf choice

  • In alcoves shelves can be positioned on battens screwed to the side and back walls.
  • Systems with uprights that are screwed to the wall make versatile shelving units. Brackets slot into the uprights to support shelves in many alternative shelf positions.
  • Brackets are ideal for just one or two shelves, and can be screwed at intervals to the wall to support shelves, which are in turn screwed on to the brackets.
  • Slung shelves are less strong than other types, so use them for small plants only. Units come in materials and colours to suit any décor. Choose from wood, metal, plastic, glass or cane.

25. April 2011 by Rupert Foxton-Smythe
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