Let It Grow

BY ERIK J. MARTIN ON OCTOBER 13TH, 2016

Furniture, décor and wall paint are important ingredients that can transform otherwise bland and empty rooms into personalized interiors. But if you really want to add life to your living spaces, consider inserting elements that are green, growing and grandly natural: think houseplants.

“Plants add a dimension of living nature to any space,” says LaMar Lisman, owner of Lisman Studio Interior Design in Salt Lake City. “Elements of nature never date – as opposed to artificial flowers and plants. Plus, shades of green are the perfect accent color to any palette, and living greenery provides a gracious way to fill spaces, eliminating the need for busy and often tacky accessories.”

What’s more, houseplants can improve air quality by removing harmful pollutants from the air, add helpful humidity to your home, and provide relaxing and therapeutic healing properties, says John Toepfer, co-founder of Blooming Secrets, an online gardening products retailer.

“Plants add color and freshness to your home’s interior and are versatile because they come in different colors, shapes and sizes,” says Toepfer, who recommends aloes, spider plants, peace lilies, ficus trees, philodendrons, and areca palms as ideal starter plants for inside the home.

When choosing a species, “you need to decide how you want your décor to make you feel and what image you want to project,” says Pablo Solomon, designer with Austin, Texas-headquartered Beverly Solomon Design. “I like succulents, as some varieties grow in low light and require very little water and care.”

Whatever breed of indoor foliage you choose, it’s important to avoid several houseplant no-nos: overwatering, over- or under-exposure to the sun, developing floor mold under moist pots, placement near excessive heat or cold, and grooming and maintenance neglect. Additionally, if you have kids or pets, steer clear of plants known for their toxicity, including pothos, arrowhead, dieffenbachia, oleander, caladium, and mother-in-law’s tongue.

Want to creatively incorporate plants into your living spaces and give them the best chance to survive and thrive? Try these tips:

1. Choose the perfect spot. “A room facing south or east with a view not obstructed by trees or buildings is the ideal location to provide needed sunlight,” Toepfer says.

2. Select floor plants to give a room a sense of scale and focal point. “Tall indoor trees work great in a room with high ceilings and help to ground the space in a way that furniture and artwork can’t,” Lisman says.

3. Use plants to soften empty spaces. “Use a cluster of plants in different containers to fill an awkward corner or large space,” Toepfer suggests.

4. Group plants together for maximum effect. “Smaller plants work best in groupings,” Lisman says, “while single plants placed on the floor often get lost.”

5. Be expressive with containers. Try zinc pots, glass bottles, and even simple wall-hung wooden containers, Toepfer notes, and select colorful containers to add visual pizazz to the room.

6. Grow edibles in the kitchen. Consider planting herbs and salad plants in plexiglass containers that can attach to your kitchen window with suction cups, which frees up needed countertop space and gives herbs the light needed to grow.

7. Create living sculptures. “A large hanging basket where the plant spills out or cascades over the container is like a work of art,” Toepfer says.

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