Decorating With Houseplants

A fiddle fig can fill a blank corner with green. A gathering of potted plants nestles perfectly under a console table. Houseplants can add natural character that only living things can provide to any room in the house.

By growing houseplants, you'll get to know your home better. That dark corner that gets no sunlight could be the perfect environment for a fern. The sunny bathroom windowsill can house an orchid. Your home has the potential to be a thriving indoor garden, you just don't know it yet.

What is a better way to decorate than by using live plants? Houseplants can add character and texture to any room, and can also be beneficial by increasing air quality and air moisture. Decorating with houseplants is more popular than ever, as seen on social media. Here are our favorite tips for arranging and caring for plants so they look their best in your home.

Grouping and Arranging Houseplants

When decorating with houseplants, there are some things to keep in mind. Besides how they look in the room, you must consider the plants' care and living conditions. Here's what you need to know when grouping houseplants together for an indoor display of green. 

Number: We recommend grouping plants in an odd number. Using an even number can look symmetrical, making the arrangement look more formal. Odd numbers give a more casual look.

Size: Group together plants with different widths and heights. The difference in size gives a more organic look than plants of the same size, which look more uniform.

Shape: Choose plants with different shapes and growth types. For example, place a squat trailing plant, a fountainlike plant, and a tall plant with upward leaves together for an arrangement with interest and harmony.

Color: Pay attention to the color of the plants you choose. For a cohesive look, put plants together that have leaves of the same color. For more variety, go for plants with foliage of different colors.

Pots: Like with color, choosing pots can go one of two ways based on personal preference. You can use pots with similar finishes and colors to make the arrangement look like a set. Or you can combine all your favorite pots of different materials and colors for an eclectic finish.

Care: When grouping houseplants, also consider their needs and condition preferences. For example, group plants that need humidity closely with other plants that have the same needs to create a pocket of moisture for every plant involved. Also, take light and temperature needs into account—placing a shade-loving and a sun-loving plant in the same area of the home will make it hard for one (or both) of the plants to survive.

All About Water Drainage

It's easy to fall into the trap of planting a houseplant in any attractive pot, but thinking about water drainage is very important for plant health. Some pots don't have a drainage hole in the bottom, meaning plants will be in sitting water. Other pots that do have drainage holes let out too much water, leaving surfaces wet. There are many solutions to drainage issues that can make houseplant care a lot simpler.

If water is running right out of your pot after a good watering, there is a simple solution to make it drain more slowly. Place a rock or shard of a broken pot over the drainage hole before planting. This won't block the hole completely, but will slow the water flow down, allowing the plant to soak up what it needs.

Some pots are made with a saucer attached to the bottom to catch draining water. If you see water filling the saucer after watering, walk away from the plant for 10 minutes or so, then return and dump the remaining water out. This gives the soil a chance to get the amount of water it needs to stay moist.

Try using a plastic pot saucer and pebbles to create a humid base for a houseplant. Fill the bottom of the saucer with a layer of pebbles, then add about a half an inch of water. This keeps the pot from sitting in water but makes moisture accessible, providing extra humidity for plants that like moisture in the air.

If you feel like your plant is not retaining the moisture it needs, try surrounding the crown of the plant with moss. A dense layer of moss can hold moisture toward the top of the plant, making up for soil that just won't hold enough water.

Repotting a Declining Plant

Pay special attention to your houseplants and how their appearances change. If they are too dry or too wet, the leaves will turn dry and brown or will start to yellow. One big sign of pests, like spider mites, is stickiness on the plant. If you notice a layer of sap on top of the leaves, determine whether a good rinse in a shower or under a hose can get rid of pests, or whether it's best to toss the plant to save surrounding plants from infection. If the dirt level in the pot is rising without you adding extra soil, the plant may be getting root-bound. No matter what issue your houseplant is facing, repotting is an opportunity to revive it.

The first step to repotting your houseplant is determining its container. Preferably, you'll want one larger than the one it was living in before. Also ensure that the pot you've chosen has good drainage. Add potting soil into the pot, filling it about a third of the way up, then place the plant in. Bury the remainder of the plant's roots with soil and press the soil in to give the plant a sturdy base. Trim off any dead leaves or branches. Then, give the plant a good watering and put it in a place that has the light and humidity it needs.

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