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The plant craze may have taken root years ago but the pandemic has sent it into full bloom. As uncertainty and confusion runs amuck outside our walls, decorating our pads with Amazonian flair feels like a particularly joyful process.
Not only does tending to plants help us feel in control, every room looks better with a plant (read: many plants) in it.
Generally speaking, interior design is not an affordable hobby. And while plants do add up quickly, they’re among the cheapest ways to make a room look chic.
To help you achieve all your #PlantGoals, we got ahold of Cloe Thomson, a DIY and design enthusiast who incorporates the use of plants in many of her designs. With her help, we created this guide on all things plant décor.
Before we get into the various types of plants and design ideas you can use to brighten up your home, there are a few questions to consider.
It’s hard to resist cascading tendrils of leaves in a window or on a shelf. It’s a way of bringing color and life to areas of a room that would be bare otherwise and, TBH, makes it feel like you’re in a lush paradise and not your boring old room.
Thompson especially recommends hanging plants if you live in a small space. She finds that by hanging a few together, you’ll be able to add height and dimension to a tight corner or an awkward wall.
Plus hanging plants are the perfect way to show off a pretty pot or a macrame hanger (and keeps them out of reach of pets).
Plants that love to hang out
- String of pearls. This elegant, draping plant likes indirect light, so avoid putting it in a sunny window. Water sparingly, every 10 to 14 days, and even less in winter.
- English ivy. This hardy vine likes medium to bright light and prefers cooler temps. Water once a week, allowing soil to dry out in between.
Similar to when you hang plants, mounting plants to the wall adds color and texture to bare space that probably wouldn’t be utilized otherwise.
Wall plants have a way of bringing the outside in like no other décor style. Just the way art pieces may become a centerpiece, a cleverly arranged plant wall can too.
Plants that look good on walls
Our plant friends look really stellar in windows, whether hanging or placed on the sill. While flowering plants may love a window (flowers tend to thrive in direct sunlight), you can’t put just any plant directly next to a window.
First off, windows are drafty and therefore colder than other areas. So while they may not react in the warmer months, winter could spell their demise. Plants are also susceptible to sunburn if they get too many hours of direct sunlight and since windows have a magnifying effect, they can exacerbate burns.
Be on the lookout for yellowing leaves or brown spots, as this can mean it’s getting too much sunlight. Plants that are leggy or look like they’re reaching toward something aren’t getting enough light.
Below are two plants that should do just fine in a window.
Air plants look like specimens collected from a different universe.
As the name clearly says, they get the majority of their nutrients from the air — that’s right, they don’t need to be placed in the soil at all. All they need is to watered adequately and live in good air circulation. They’ll do fine under almost all lighting conditions.
Thompson adds they’re very flexible when designing a room. They can be placed in pots or stacked against a few books on a shelf. They also look great in terrariums and as hanging plants.
If you still haven’t jumped on the succulent bandwagon, now’s the time. There are so many species of succulents you could spend your whole life collecting them and still find new ones.
Many succulents have intricate leaf patterns, some even look like flowers, making them a no-brainer for decorating. The vast majority of them will tolerate any kind of light, so you don’t have to be very discerning when choosing where to place them.
On that note, brightly colored succulents require more light than their green counterparts. So, if you’re a beginner, it might be wise to start with green succulents.
You can try arranging a few succulents in pots on a windowsill, or planting succulents with a variety of shapes and colors into one pot to create a bouquet effect. These succulent arrangements make beautiful centerpieces for a table or nightstand.
Pick plants that are easy to care for, first
If you’re a plant newbie, start with the easy, no fuss stars like spider plants, pothos, and snake plants. Once you have a little fleet of plants that’ll do well no matter what, then try your hand at the more finicky species.
Diversify the look of your forest
Yes, most plants are the color green. But there is SO much variety when it comes to hues, shapes, and textures. According to Thomson, thinking about what vibe each plant brings to a space is a key way of creating a deliberate aesthetic, rather than a hodgepodge of greenery.
Be thoughtful about presentation
Sure, you can plop any plant into a corner with its original plastic pot and call it a day (honestly, sometimes that’s the best we can do). But transplanting plants into sturdy pots keeps your plants happy by giving them more space to grow.
You can also mix and match pots to compliment the look of your space.
All plants have a native habitat they do best in. Some plants are adaptable and hardy while others (looking at you string of pearls) only thrive in certain conditions.
So before you spend any money, do your research. Here are three important questions to ask about your space when deciding which plant to buy:
- What kind of light does the space get? Low, direct, indirect, filtered?Most plants thrive best in a bright setting but away from direct sunlight.
- What’s the temperature spectrum? Think about drafts around windows and doors as many houseplants are sensitive to cold.
- What’s the humidity like? Remember, most of the houseplants we keep originated in high humid, jungle-like conditions. While they may not need that much humidity to survive, they also likely aren’t going to want to be place next to an AC or heater unit.