One of the fastest ways of bringing beauty, dynamism and flourish to a space is by adding a plant. It can also be one the cheapest ways to transform a space and I find the benefits go beyond just the decorative. Plants can be very therapeutic and having some around makes a room feel like more than four walls enclosing a space.
Whilst choosing plants, push a little beyond the usual. There are so many staple varieties that are to be found at home stores and Ikea, which I am personally so tired of seeing anywhere because they’re so ubiquitous. Look for ones that more unusual, with spiky leaves, feathery details, small trees - and hunt in local florist stores or at a nursery. Make sure to speak to someone there and get a few pointers, they’re usually very knowledgeable and helpful.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when selecting plants for your home:
/ Consider the conditions of the space you’d like to put it in: how much light does it get? How warm or cold or damp is it? Pick accordingly - if there’s no one to help, look at the label on the plant, it will give you some pointers about what that particular plant needs.
/ Consider how much care you can give your plant: how often can / do you want to water it? Does it need to be misted with water regularly? A fern for example, is beautiful but very delicate. A couple of days without water and it will wither. A cacti or a rubber tree on the other hand is much hardier.
/ The container you put your plant in is almost as important as the plant itself, so choose carefully! One very common mistake is to display a plant in a too-small (read: that fits the plastic pot exactly) planter and this disproportion often makes the plant seem unattractive and awkward. Planters aren’t cheap but taking the trouble to find the right size makes a huge difference. Go for 2 - 3 sizes bigger than the plastic pot the plant is in - experiment first before making a decision and see how this size makes the plant look and feel. Also consider materials and colour: light grey cement, woven rattan or black rough ceramic will have completely different feels. Homestores always have good quality large planters for fairly low rates - but you can look at discount interior stores or flea markets. And don’t feel restricted to just pots: vintage boxes, wooden wine crates and woven baskets all make beautiful containers.
/ Consider the texture of the plant and choose a container accordingly. Do you want a sophisticated feel or a more relaxed, casual one? Sleek or country? And how much contrast would you like between the plant and the container?
/ Plants don’t only belong on a table or sideboard: consider putting them on the ground or on a pile of books, hang them from the ceiling or place them in the middle of a wall. Treat them as you would a piece of art. And you’ll be rewarded with a space that feel lush and beautiful.
Images: Vatsala Murthy