Big or small, on their own or in groups, plants are a great way to bring nature into your home. Here we’ve gathered 10 fresh, creative ideas for bringing greenery into your living room.
The benefits of keeping plants in your home are many. First, plants are nature’s complement to animals, taking in the carbon dioxide we inhale and providing us with fresh oxygen.
Second, studies show that taking care of a living entity—even one that doesn’t move much—is beneficial to mental wellbeing.
And then there are the aesthetic benefits: the interest, texture, and color that plants add to your room.
A potted plant on the windowsill is a classic. It’s cheery and pleasing, and a great introduction for those who haven’t yet developed a green thumb.
But once you’ve been turned on to the beauty of houseplants, you may find you want to add to your collection… and add… and add.
When you’re ready to “leave” the solo houseplant behind and “branch out” into new and interesting displays of greenery, try some of these approaches to express your creativity and enliven your home.
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Table of Contents:
1. Hang Them Up
Whether you’re short on horizontal surfaces or just looking to add some height to your décor, consider hanging your indoor plants.
A simple eye hook can screw into the ceiling and hold a hanging planter. If you’ve ever hung plants outdoors—under the eaves, say—don’t forget the big difference: planters that hang outdoors usually have drainage holes at the bottom. Indoor planters need to catch the extra moisture when you water them.
What type of plant works best in a hanging planter? Almost anything you can imagine. But if you want to increase the wow factor, try a plant with long, hanging tendrils. Ivies fit the bill (just make sure to keep them away from children and pets, since the leaves can are toxic). Or try heartleaf philodendron, spider plants, or ferns.
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2. Air Them Out
With no need for soil, air plants are easy to use in decorating. You can set them in a dish or on a shelf, mount them on the wall, and basically put them anywhere you might put a candle.
They’re called air plants because they don’t need soil to grow; their roots are exposed. They do, however, require light and water. Soak your air plants for 5-10 minutes about once every week or two.
Shake off the excess water and turn them upside down on a towel in a bright area to dry. This should take no more than three hours. In between soakings, mist the plants about once a week with water from a spray bottle. Be careful not to overwater!
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3. Glass them In
You’ve probably seen them popping up on Pinterest and Instagram over the last couple of years, so maybe it’s finally time to give terrariums a chance.
What is a terrarium, exactly? It’s a planter that is partially or completely enclosed, usually by glass, which helps to hold in moisture while allowing heat and light to enter.
Almost any glass container can be a terrarium; try a fishbowl, a pitcher, or even a large jar. You can use a lidded container, but closed terrariums often lead to issues with fungus and may be obscured by condensation.
Choose very small plants to fit in your container. Some varieties you may be able to find include moon valley friendship plant, variegated spider fern, starfish plant, nerve plant, variegate, golden clubmoss, and aquamarine.
Since your container won’t have holes on the bottom, you’ll need drainage layers. Start with gravel, followed by activated charcoal, then sheet moss, and finally as much potting mix as you can fit and still have the plants end below the top of the container.
Add the plants and then a few special touches, like branches, stones, or shells. Voila! Your own custom terrarium.
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4. Go Big
If you’ve only owned potted plants that were smaller than a milk jug, you’ve been missing out on the drama of big, bold greenery.
You’ll need a large pot or planter; go simple with black or bold and artistic with a custom-painted ceramic container.
Fiddle-leaf figs have been very popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Their huge leaves pop in any space, and their tall trunks give your room a vertical element.
Other beauties include Bird of Paradise, Dragon Tree, Norfolk Island Pine, Fishtail Palm, and European Olive, as well as the classic Ficus.
Give your big plant its own corner of the room, near a window with lots of natural sunlight. Do your research to make sure the variety you choose is safe for kids and pets, if necessary, and to figure out its ideal watering schedule. Then enjoy watching it own the room with its presence.
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5. Indulge your Imagination
Fairy gardens are a way to create a miniature enchanted world right inside a little pot. Unlike terrariums, they are usually not enclosed, but they share the use of tiny plants and accessories.
The idea is to use the little plants to represent trees, bushes, and garden areas (think moss for grass), as though the container is home to a tiny fairy.
You can buy countless accessories for a fairy garden, and collecting the miniatures can be part of the fun. Alternatively, use your imagination and craft skills to create accessories of your own – perhaps a garden stool from a cork and a bottlecap, or a little bridge from toothpicks or popsicle sticks.
Fairy gardens definitely fall on the cute end of the spectrum, but they’re wonderful for children or to bring out your inner child.
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6. Grow your Groceries
Generally, indoor plants give us visual enjoyment, but that doesn’t have to be their only role. If you want to get more from your greenery, try growing your own herbs and produce. Yes, indoors!
Many new garden kits have come out in recent years; they tend to include a reservoir for water, a growing light with a timer, and some type of growing medium. Popular varieties include the Smart Garden, Click and Grow, Modern Sprout Growhouse, and AeroGarden.
Herbs are a favorite for indoor growing. Try growing your own parsley, basil, dill, and rosemary. You’ll have sprigs available to snip whenever you’re cooking. Micro greens and lettuces are also popular.
Not all produce will grow indoors. Some types require pollinators such as bees. If you want to go beyond leafy varieties—to cherry tomatoes, say—be sure to select varieties specifically sold to grow indoors.
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7. Try Some Citrus
While we’re talking about edible plants, let’s not neglect one of the most impressive: a little citrus tree where you can grow your own lemons or oranges. What could be more magical than watching a fragrant, colorful orb grow from a mere flower?
Start by choosing a dwarf variety whose mature height will fit in your home. Dwarf citrus plants are sold grafted onto roots that keep them from growing too large and cause them to bear fruit more quickly, compared to a full-sized tree.
You’ll need a lighter-colored pot (dark colors can absorb too much heat), well-drained soil, lots of light, warm enough air, and plenty of watering.
If all goes well, your tree will probably bloom in the spring. You can help it pollinate by moving pollen from one flower to another with a cotton swab or paint brush. If you’re lucky, the fruit will grow over the summer and fall and fully ripen in the winter.
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8. Plant your Scraps
Many of the bits of fruits and vegetables that we normally throw away can find second lives as house plants. An onion or bulb of garlic with a green sprout, the top of a pineapple, a potato with eyes, or even an avocado pit can all be coaxed into growing, at least for a while.
While you’re at it, spare a container from the garbage or recycling in which to grow your experiment.
You can find instructions online for regrowing avocados, lettuce, celery, ginger, beets, pineapples, potatoes, and many more.
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9. Succumb to Succulents
It’s almost a cliché: if you can’t remember to water your plants, try choosing plants that rarely need water. Succulents hold more water in their thick leaves and stems, so they can go a long time—but not forever! — without watering.
A cactus is the classic low-maintenance plant, but you don’t have to stop there. Jade and aloe are beautiful and widely available. Then there are many lesser-known species that grow in spikes, rosettes, and almost any shape and shade you can imagine.
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10. Fake it ’til You Make it
If you’re tired of destroying every plant you touch, or if you don’t need another living thing depending on you, don’t despair. Today’s fake plants range from truly realistic to assertively faux, and you’re sure to find something that fits your style.
Nothing brings a combination of freshness, tranquility, and beauty to your living room quite like a plant; and the more, the merrier. From a big potted citrus tree to the smallest mason jar of soil and vegetable sprouts, and from high-maintenance to virtually no-maintenance, there’s a way to embrace greenery on every scale.