Take advantage of all the benefits of houseplants and make them a central part of your decor.

By Andrea Beck and Jenny Krane
Updated March 16, 2020
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Decorating with houseplants has all kinds of benefits; they produce extra oxygen through photosynthesis, help reduce stress, and can even increase your productivity if you include them on your desk or in your home office. You can start small, with just one or two plants on side tables in your house, or you can go all out and create your own garden room filled with dozens of different plants. No matter how you decide to do it, decorating with houseplants helps bring the freshness of the outdoors in, and gives you a mini garden you can tend to all year round.

Jacob Fox

How to Decorate with Houseplants

When decorating with houseplants, there are some things to keep in mind. Besides how they look in the room, you have to consider the plants' care and living conditions. For example, some plants will tolerate low light and thrive in tricky areas like your bathroom, while others need a spot by the window to grow. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you bring more plants home:

Arrange in Odd Numbers

When you can, group 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.

Choose Different Sizes

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 uniform.

Think About Leaf Shapes

Choose plants with different shapes and growth types. For example, place a squat trailing plant (pothos), a fountainlike plant (dracaena), and a tall plant with upward leaves (fiddle-leaf fig tree) together for an arrangement with interest and harmony.

Include Plants with Colorful Leaves

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.

Use Plenty of Decorative 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.

Don't Forget Houseplant Care

When grouping houseplants, also consider their needs and condition preferences. For example, group plants that need humidity, such as ferns, closely with other plants that have the same needs to create a pocket of moisture for every plant involved. Also, take temperature and light 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.

Blaine Moats

Indoor Plant Drainage Tips

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 your plants could be sitting in water. Other pots that do have drainage holes let out too much water that can leak on your tables and floor. Luckily, 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's 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 you can place under the planter 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.

Kindra Clineff

How to Repot Plants That Are Declining

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 (meaning that the roots have taken up all the available space in the pot and might be forming a dense, coiled knot around the soil). 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 new 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 so it can go back to brightening your day.

Comments (3)

Anonymous
April 18, 2020
Beautiful! I have limited space for plants by a window so found a hanging shelf at Home Goods (they had a wide variety of shelves). Love my new small flowering garden.
Anonymous
April 18, 2020
Beautiful! I have limited space for plants by a window so found a hanging shelf at Home Goods (they had a wide variety of shelves). Love my new small flowering garden.
Anonymous
April 18, 2020
I have been seeking the shelves (3 with what looks like wood shelf, and wheels since I first the picture a few months ago. Please, who sells them? I looked at BHG in Walmart site, but not seeing it.rhoda.yare@gmail.com