DECORATING WITH PLANTS

Written by Kim Smerek

We can't underestimate the power that plants have in our daily environment, whether in our homes or offices. Bringing a bit of nature indoors is not only aesthetically pleasing, it has been shown to benefit our health in many ways.  

Here are some ways to enhance your space with a bit of greenery: 

1. Size: The great thing about plants is that there are no size restrictions on what you can find; from a tiny air plant, to a plant that commands a room. When thinking about buying a plant for your space, choose a size reflecting the size of the space in which you live and where it will be placed. A small apartment would feel overwhelmed by a 6' or 7' plant, but if you are in a loft or a larger home, you could place a plant even larger. Keep in mind that a floor plant is a living sculpture and needs space, and adequate lighting. A standout choice is the Majesty Palm 

2. Minimalist vs maximalist: A singular plant in a room has the ability to draw so much  attention, so why not make it one that really stands out? One plant that never fails to make a statement on its own is Monstera. Balanced pairs, or layering multiple plants of different sizes can create depth to your decor. Try adding unusual forms in your indoor arrangements. 

3. Colour and pattern: Don't be afraid to mix patterns and colours, but try to stay complementary by keeping it within a colour family. Play with the various shades of green to achieve different looks. Light greens make for a more tropical look while darker foliage tends to have a more modern or sophisticated feel. Many tropical plants come in such a variety of colours and leaf textures, such as Crotons, succulents, and flowering plants like the Goldfish plant. 

4. Pots: The best pots have holes in their bottoms for excess water to drain out. If water collects in the bottom of a pot, it can cause root rot, which eventually kills plants. You'll also need a saucer underneath to catch the excess water. TIP:If you choose a decorative pot with no drainage holes, plant first in a plastic pot and then put it inside the decorative pot. Almost anything can be made into a planting vessel including pieces of driftwood, fabric planters, shells, terrariums, wooden boxes, even hollowed out books! Think about pairing plants with  containers that will complement each other. 

5. Plants for kid's rooms: Encourage an interest in plants from an early age. It will translate to an appreciation of nature, and the benefit of nurturing and patience as kid's care for their green companions and watch for new shoots or flowers. Try cool planters and easy care succulentsKid and pet safety: Plants to watch out for are pothos, deiffenbachia, and peace lilies. If you have pets or kids that are prone to munching on your plants (and even if they're not), do some research before you bring a plant into your home. There are tons of non-toxic options. 

6. Vertical:   Limited table or shelf space, but still want some greenery? Use plants as art to dress up a wall. Vertical planting is big right now and can be as easy as small shelves holding plants that can drape over the side like English ivy, or a living wall full of succulents or tropicals.  How about an herb wall in your kitchen? Oregano, parsley, basil, mint are easy to grow inside.  Or instead of a chandelier over your dining table, try a hanging terrarium.    Macrame hangers are all the rage again, and with them comes the opportunity to showcase plants with draping foliage like Pothos . 

7. Succulents and Cacti: These guys deserve their own category! They are so low maintenance and long-lived. They come in so many textures and colours, that once you have one, you'll find yourself on the lookout for more and different ones to add to your collection. They complement a contemporary aesthetic well because of their more linear shapes. Succulents are perfect for packing into intricate shapes and small planters. So get creative! For those lacking the green thumb, these may just be the plants for you! Great for terrariums, and quirky planters like driftwood, shells or pretty dish. 

8. Health benefits: Along with making your space pretty, here are some ways plants also make it healthy:   

Better sleep – Plants soak up sound which makes them perfect for the bedroom, some good choices are dracaena , goldfish plant, croton

Mental health benefits  – Having plants indoors has been shown to reduce stress, fatigue, lowers blood pressure, boosts mood, productivity, concentration and the immune system. Even brief exposure to nature has been shown to boost our mood and elicit a calming effect. What's not to love? 

Purify the air – Plants clean indoor air, absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen. Some plants that improve air quality are the snake plant, pothos, rubber plant. ZZ plant and philodendron. 

Easy care tropicals:  

Monsterra: With its large, dramatic, perforated leaves, this plant is a great showpiece. Prefers bright light, high humidity, warm temperatures, but will tolerate less than ideal conditions. Can reach heights of up to 8 feet! 

Pilea: This versatile, easy to care for plant is small and easily fits into any area. The cute round leaves of the pilea peperomoides need bright light and warm temperature to thrive. It's easily propagated, which is why it is often called the 'friendship plant'. 

Pothos: Now here is a plant for anyone who feels they have no green thumb! Its long trailing vines grow incredibly well indoors, and are perfect for draping down from a shelf or trailing along a mantel. Will grow in almost any light condition. 

Rubber Plant:  This versatile plant with its shiny, leathery leaves can be kept small enough for a table or can reach up to 12 ft in the right conditions. To keep it small, restrict its pot size. Though it has a sturdy appearance, it doesn't like to be moved around. 

Spider plant: One of the most adaptable and east-to-grow houseplants around. It is typically grown in hanging baskets because of its gracefully arching leaves and stems that jet from the plant and carry baby plantlets on it.