Creating a House Plant Heaven

Nothing transforms a room like a living plant. A vibrant shock of green adds life and vitality to your home. Plants filter the air and promote health and well-being.  Whether you are green-fingered or not, it's impossible to ignore the growing trend for plants in interiors.

House plants should be the first decisions you make when decorating. Determine your lighting conditions, the type of plants you desire (that are compatible to your lighting conditions), and how large you want them to grow. Once this is established, you know exactly how much room needs to be allowed and where to allow it. Furniture can then be planned accordingly. For most, this may seem odd. But if you are certain you want plants as a focus in your environment, the space for these plants must be thought of without the bias or influence of existing furniture.


Here are Mzuri’s ideas for gorgeous displays—that show you how to keep them growing strong:


Dress Up Supermarket Flowers

Combine three shades of African violets in a curvy urn. Cover with sheet moss (sold at most nurseries) to add a cozy feel and to help hold in moisture.
 

Care: Direct morning light. Protect from bright afternoon sun. To water, lift the moss so you can soak the soil. Keep the soil moist all the time; try not to get the leaves wet.


Stage a Still Life With Succulents

Like intricate little sculptures, mini cacti and succulents make an intriguing assemblage. Mix round, pointy, shiny, and matte plants, unifying them with just two types of neutral pots. Extra credit for a backdrop that picks up on the purples and greens of the leaves. From left: Mistletoe cactus, jade, aloe, two echeveria varieties, and rattail cactus.
 

Care: Direct light. The soil should thoroughly dry out between watering.


Put a Towering Tree on Wheels

The large, leathery leaves of a tall fiddle-leaf fig can fill (and transform) an empty corner. Make an oversize plant mobile so you can easily roll it out of the way for vacuuming or to protect it from too much sun. All you need is a piece of precut bluestone from a landscaping center set on a wheeled caddie. This dark, cylindrical pot creates a modern profile and keeps the focus on the fig tree; its relief work echoes the “carved” leaves and adds one more luscious texture.
 

Care: Moderate light. Keep away from bright afternoon sun. Let the top inch of soil dry out, then water thoroughly.


Take Advantage of a Steamy Spot With a Humidity-Hungry Orchid

Think of a phalaenopsis orchid as a long-lasting bouquet: It’s magnificent for a month or so, and then the blooms are gone. Phalaenopsis are fans of light and humidity, so they do well in a sunny bathroom. Because they come potted in a fast-draining medium (a mix of peat, charcoal, and bark), they can be a challenge to keep hydrated—water seeps out the bottom quickly. To trap moisture, set the pot on gravel in a low glass cylinder; as water evaporates, it will be caught by the glass and reabsorbed by the orchid. Choose a plant with bright, shiny, firm (not droopy) foliage and only a few of the lowest flowers open.
 

Care: Direct morning light. Protect from bright afternoon sun. Allow the top half-inch of medium to dry out before watering again.


Green the Bedroom With Ferns

Trading a bedside lamp for a rich, leafy fern offers a surprise hit of nature that’s especially striking in a neutral space—it can turn an understated room into a minimalist enchanted forest. Ordinary ferns look regal when tucked in pretty matte pots and groomed a bit; just trim stray fronds and remove anything brown. Similar but different, these varieties (left, a Green Fantasy fern; right, a button fern) relate artfully from their perches. When shopping for ferns, look up. Anything in a hanging pot can be relocated to a standing pot, and often the lushest specimens are above you.
 

Care: Indirect light. Water whenever the surface of the soil is dry to the touch.


Stuff Multiple Plants Into One Container for Instant Lushness

What keeps a low display from looking like something in a dentist’s office? Volume and a sleek pot. There are five dracaena (from the supermarket) repotted into this cone-shaped planter, creating an abundant, exotic feel. Against matte black, the striped leaves look dramatic and exciting. Arcing over, they “break” the edges of the mod container, so the effect is clean but not rigid. When shopping, pick dense plants with glossy foliage. A modern saucer, plus a slab of marble (check stone centers), adds panache.

Care: Indirect light. Let the top inch of soil dry out, then water thoroughly.



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