Mixed Bowls of House Plants

Mixed Bowls of House Plants

A bowl, trough or some other container planted up with a selection of house plants can be very attractive, whether it is composed of flowering house plants, or of foliage house plants, or a mixture of the two. The different plants must, however, be selected with some care. Obviously it is necessary to choose plants that require similar conditions of soil, light and temperature as well as plants that will look good together.

Once again the ideal container is one that is provided with drainage holes and, if it is to stand on a piece of furniture, it should be given a plate or metal tray on which to stand. It is often possible to find a brass or copper bowl with short feet which can be given an additional false bottom of perforated zinc. This will prevent root rot caused by water logging, especially if the bottom of the bowl under the zinc is lined with polythene cut to shape. The polythene should be allowed to come up the sides of the bowl for about ยง inch. A good handful of granulated charcoal placed at the bottom of the bowl will help to prevent the compost from getting sour.

mixed bowl of house plants A good seed compost can be used for filling the bowl and it will benefit by the addition of some granulated peat, one part to every two to three parts of compost, depending on the plants in question. It is important to soak and squeeze out the peat before it is used, otherwise it will absorb all the moisture from the compost. A rich compost is not needed during the early stages of growth and feeding should only take place after the plants have rooted well into the compost.

The planting up of a bowl needs planning ahead. Plants may look suitable companions at first, but if one is a more vigorous grower than the others it will quickly swamp the other plants. It is, of course, possible to prune a vigorous plant back, but vigorous growth denotes vigorous root action and less active plants may well be starved of essential nutrients.

However, a little forethought will prevent any difficulties and there are an enormous number of possible combinations, During the Christmas season many bowls of house plants are made up and offered for sale. These look most attractive especially when perhaps a cyclamen has been added or one or two hyacinth bulbs are in flower. The foliage plants will outlive the flowering plant and bulbs but they can be removed in due course and another house plant substituted.

A good mixture of coloured foliage plants for a bowl would be Gynura sarmentosa, Hedera canariensis, Croton, Rhoicissus rhoimboidea, Cryptanthus fosterianus, Tradescantia tricolour and Cryptanthus tricolor. For a trough, the height of plants must be remembered and taken into consideration. Too many plants of similar height are seldom effective. Ficus hycata, Hedera Glacier, Hedera Chicagoand Begonia rex, are suitable for an assorted height, foliage-filled trough. Another, longer trough could consist of Ficus tricolor, Dracaena, Scindapsus Marble Queen, Peperomia magnoliaefolia, Aphelandra, Maranta, Hedera Green Rippleand Citrus mitis. A large pottery bowl with a stem will look most attractive and important if filled with Scindapsus Marble Queenon a moss stick and Begonia Rex and Philodendron imbe Red Burgundy around the base; particularly if the bowl is dark grey or black, for it will enhance the colours of the foliages.

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