As I write this another winter storm is brewing outside, yet I am surrounded by the aroma of the Amaryllis, Daffodils, and Hyacinth blooming on my desk. If you are lucky to have a south, east, or west exposure, you can grow all kinds of wonderful plants. Even shady northern exposures can be greened up with the right plant.
Taking care of houseplants is not difficult; it just takes a little knowledge of their individual light and watering needs. Take a few minutes to observe the light in your home. Which direction does each room face? Do you get a lot or a little light there? Armed with this basic knowledge, the plant specialists at a nursery will be able to help you find the plants that will thrive in your home.
I have plants in every room in my house. The ferns and air plants can be found in the laundry room and bathrooms enjoying the extra humidity. The succulents are near the sunniest window ledge facing south, as are the cacti. In my north-facing bedroom I have a large majesty palm tree, which is quite content there. The fiddle leaf fig sits on an east-facing windowsill surrounded by orchids, and tiny glass terrariums sit alongside my daughter’s makeup on her east-adjacent dresser.
Decorating with plants is simply playing off your existing décor. If you are a minimalist use plants as sculptural elements to accentuate your rooms, as you would any accessories. If you want to create a tropical greenhouse look, fill a whole windowsill or corner of a room with a variety of shapes and sizes of plants and pots.
Arrangements of several plants together can have a huge impact on a room. Use vintage pottery, bell jars, and other favorite items to embellish a bookshelf or side table, or make a wonderful centerpiece on your dining room table. You can create vignettes using shells, stones or anything else that you love to collect.
Keep your eye out for great pots at yard or estate sales. People get discouraged as soon as a plant doesn’t do well and will often sell it for next to nothing. You can also use things not originally intended as plant containers; like china teacups or metal food tins. One of my favorite things about using houseplants is marrying a great pot to its perfect plant mate.
Besides looking wonderful and creating a comforting environment, plants also provide health benefits such as absorbing carbon dioxide and other harmful toxins from the air and releasing oxygen into it. When all is grey and dark during the winter months plants give us that touch of nature we need to believe that spring is around the corner. And when spring arrives, don’t forget to bring some of your plants outside for the season so that they too can bask in the sunlight. They will love you the more for it and look even better come fall.
The Unexpected Houseplant, by Tovah Martin
Houseplants for Dummies, by Larry Hodgson
Houseplant Expert, by D.G. Hessayon