4 October 2019

The quick guide to styling with indoor plants

Pat Carbone
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At times, stylists can have some varied views about what’s hot and what’s not. One thing that they now universally agree on is that indoor plants are a must. Apart from looking great, they remove toxins from the air and can assist in balancing the humidity in enclosed areas. If you’re looking to add some pops of colour and inject life into your spaces but don’t exactly have a green thumb, this guide will help you go green with confidence.

CONSIDER THE SPACE

When planning your plant strategy, think about the spaces and what is most appropriate in them. Consider things like natural light levels the rooms receive and what is going to really complement your interior scheme.

Small Spaces

Side tables, ledges and open shelving are all great places for small potted succulents. If you have room on your bathroom vanity, they also work perfectly as part of practical vignettes on a timber tray with your soaps and lotions.

Functional Rooms

Bathrooms and laundries can sometimes be a little flat and sterile, so they benefit big time from both strategically placed potted plants and hanging planters. The lively yet delicate Maiden Hair Fern is perfect in these scapes.

Larger Living Areas

For areas with more open space like living rooms, potted plants with beautifully variegated leaf structures make exquisite features, and when well placed can direct attention away from elements you want to hide. A gorgeous option here is something like Calathea varietals with their multiple hues of green.

Kitchens

When you have a family, the kitchen can often be mayhem, but hanging baskets with trailing foliage look stunning and add an element of zen that is needed when the kids are hungry and you’re slaving over the stove (as long as they don’t obscure your vision). Something like a String of Pearls plant will do the trick.

LAYERING & VISUAL LEVELS

When you have the room, having multiple plants at different heights in different forms of pots and planters is the way to go. Incorporating some taller varietals layered against smaller plants gives a room a lush sanctuary feel and a living style feature that adds another dimension to any decor. A combo of Mini Hostas, Cycacs, Banana Trees and Fiddle Leaf Figs are fantastic starting points.

Layering different sized plants at different levels. Photo by Elle Hughes.

LIGHT & WATER

A common mistake with indoor plants is placing them in spots that are inappropriately lit. Some plants can tolerate limited light, whereas others will definitely struggle. Putting your plants outside in direct sunlight after being in predominantly lowlight situations is a mistake, as they will sizzle just like we do. Knowing a little bit about the plants you have chosen will go a long way in ensuring they survive for the long-term.

Another trap is over or under watering. An old trick for checking if your plants need water is to insert about half of your finger into the soil or potting mix. If it feels a little dry, it needs water. If it’s moist you can hold off, but make sure you check regularly.

FINAL WORD

If you know you’re not going to be able to give your indoor plants the TLC they need, go for something hardy that is a survivor. Something like Monstera is extremely hard to kill and looks superb with its sprawling leaf structure.

But in general, if you’re ever unsure about what plant will work in a space and what kind of care it requires, checking in with your local nursery or a horticulturalist is your best bet.

Regardless of the theme you have established in your interiors, indoor plants invigorate any design scheme and will help you reconnect with nature in the comfort of your own home.

The unmistakable and hardy Monstera. Photo by Kara Eads.

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