Your house has been constructed and is ready to be turned into a home, but what’s the best way to do this?
One way you can add life and beauty to your home is by incorporating plants into your living room. Seeing greenery eases tension, conferring serenity and plants draw pollutants into their leaves, imparting the air with freshness.
Your maintenance efforts are rewarded with blossoms and new growth. Since plants absorb background sound, your house is quieter. Plus, the beauty of flora lends elegance to your decor. Here are five ways to liven up your living room with plants.
Appoint air plants.
Air plant is the common name for Tillandsia, a type of bromeliad. Tilly is unique in that its roots anchor to hard surfaces rather than soil. In its natural habitat, it clings to rocks and trees, while leaves extract nutrients and moisture from the air.
For Tillandsia to thrive, you need a well-ventilated space in your living room. Either locate it within 3 feet of filtered sun or beneath fluorescent light for 12 hours daily. The general watering guideline is once weekly. However, if room air is dry, water every five days. If your living room tends to be humid, give Tilly a drink every 10 days. Between waterings, lightly mist the plant once a day. Feed with a fertilizer designed for Tillandsia.
You can be creative with Tilly’s anchor. For instance, mount the plant on a wreath, wire basket, bark, driftwood, or seashell. As wall art, affix the plant to a spiral ring, glass tube, or cork. You can even make a wall arrangement of several plants. You can also hang Tilly in a clear globe. Or showcase it in a decorative bowl on a coffee table. Just make sure Tilly’s container doesn’t collect water, as this causes root rot.
Use a nontoxic, waterproof adhesive as a mounting material. Suitable brands are Goop, Liquid Nails, E6000, or Tilly Tacker. Apply the glue near the plant’s base, but not on roots. Tie Tilly with floral wire until the adhesive dries and sets.
Use a specimen plant as a focal point.
Beckon guests into the living room with an eye-catching plant. For a specimen to draw attention, it needs an alluring feature. Examples are a large size, beautiful color, graceful growth pattern, or pretty planter. You can also shine a spotlight on a plant from above or below, at a distance that won’t burn leaves.
Adjacent to furniture, plants soften hard lines. Invite folks to chairs by stationing plants nearby. Or fill a lonely corner with a lush tree. Before buying a “statement plant,” assess whether you have the light and space it needs to thrive. Peace lily is one that flourishes in medium light, sprouting white flower flags.
The arum family of philodendrons has many impressive members! Most large arums like bright, dappled light. Philodendron selloum has bold, fingered leaves. Philodendron erubescens is a climber, whose wine-colored stems and arrowhead leaves can be trained on a pole. Monstera deliciosa is commonly called the Swiss cheese plant, named for the holes that embellish its leaves.
Parlor palm is a feathery beauty and slow grower, to an average height of 6 feet. Cornstalk Dracaena has long, draping leaves, each striped with yellow. Rubber plant is a hardy sort with thick, paddle-like leaves.
Topiary is the art of coaxing plants into 3D sculptures. The supporting wire frames can take decorative shapes, such as hearts, hoops, stars, lollipops, cones, spirals, balls, and swans.
Plants amenable to training are creeping fig, creeping thyme, English ivy, grape ivy, hoya, pothos, wandering Jew, and topiary moss. Each of these plants needs bright, filtered sun or 12 hours of artificial light daily. Choose small starters with long vines.
To design a topiary, first buy a frame, sterile sand, potting soil, and a ceramic pot with a drainage hole, available at garden centers. For securing stems, obtain garden tape, twist-ties, or plant clips. Make a mixture of half sand and soil and place in the lower half of your planter. The sand keeps the wire frame in place. Place the frame in the pot, and tamp the soil mixture around it. Then, add the plant you will train. Wind each vine separately around the frame, using ties to loosely secure the stems to the wire. Then, water the plant thoroughly.
As the plant grows, urge the vines to follow the frame, using plant ties and pruning shears. Once weekly, rotate the pot one-quarter turn, so growth is symmetric. When the vines are established, cut off the tips to encourage full growth along the stems. Feed every three weeks with a general purpose houseplant fertilizer. Alternatively, you can buy a topiary at a garden center. It costs more than a homegrown project but gives you a head start.
Do you have children or pets? If so, elevating plants is wise. Many are toxic if ingested, so it’s imperative to keep leaves beyond the reach of little hands, paws, and mouths.
You have numerous options for raised placement. Suspend planters from ceiling hooks. Display plants on shelves. For an upscale look, hang bronze bowls, attached to golden chains. For a modern ambiance, use clear plastic globes. Macramé hangers are homey. Available in a rainbow of colors, you can match them to your decor.
Want some novelty in your living room? Buy planters with attached suction cups, and affix them to living room windows. Install wall planters with a vertical bracket and clear plastic pots. Or display small plants in metal pots that adhere to magnetic plates.
Create a terrarium.
A terrarium is a collection of plants, enclosed in a clear container. To make one, first decide where you’ll place it, relative to a light source. The amount of light dictates the types of plants you can grow. A terrarium near south or west windows can house plants that need bright light. Eastern exposure suits plants that favor medium light. Flora that withstand low light can survive near a north-facing window.
Note that you can’t place a glass container in direct sunlight, as the trapped heat will cook the plants. Alternatively, buy a terrarium equipped with a low-wattage bulb, affixed to the inside lid. The plants you choose should have similar water and light requirements and be slow growers. Beyond this, they can have varying colors, textures, and growth patterns.
For a closed terrarium, choose plants needing humidity, such as Tillandsia, golden clubmoss, dwarf palm, and baby’s tears. Ferns also like moist air, such as artillery, maidenhair, button, and bird’s nest. For a succulent garden, use Crassula, Echeveria, Hawthornia, and cacti. Will your terrarium receive medium light? If so, ideal plants are creeping fig, prayer plant, watermelon peperomia, friendship plant, fittonia, aluminum plant, and strawberry begonia.
Your container can be a clear vase, bowl, lighted fish tank, jar, aquarium, glass candy jar, or even a transparent coffee pot. The opening should be at least 7 inches wide, so you can easily fit your hand through it. Craft supply stores and thrift shops are good sources of vessels and decorative items. Here’s a complete list of needed materials, most of them obtainable from a garden center:
- clear vessel
- small plants
- washed pebbles
- horticultural charcoal
- sphagnum moss
- potting soil appropriate to plants
- decorative items, such as figurines
- scoop or spoon
- gloves for handling charcoal
To begin, sketch out how you’ll arrange the plants. Adhering to a diagram keeps plant disturbance to a minimum. Next, create a drainage base with a layer of pebbles, at a depth of 1 to 2 inches, depending on vessel size. To keep the air fresh, cover the stones with a thin layer of charcoal. Then, thinly layer sphagnum moss as an absorbent buffer. Using a scoop or spoon, add enough soil to accommodate plant roots.
For each plant, make a hole in the soil with the chopstick. Gently remove the plants from their containers, leaving the roots and surrounding soil intact. Insert each plant individually, beginning with the smallest. Position plants so their leaves don’t touch the side of the container. Cover the roots with soil, and tamp it around plant bases. The soil depth for each plant should be slightly more than its original pot.
Now, you can have fun with decorative landscaping! Simulate a pathway by making a shallow trench with the chopstick, and fill it with pebbles. To mimic a mountain, add a large rock. Or, fabricate a village with figurines. The extent of your decorating depends on vessel size. Too many accessories form a chaotic landscape. A few marbles or glass beads may be ideal.
Then, lightly mist the sides of the container, so there’s no soil clinging to the inside that can obstruct light. Water the plants with a spray bottle, to prevent drowning. Thereafter, give water according to plant needs.
Now you have five ways to green up your living room. For an artistic look, decorate with air plants. Mount Tillandsia on driftwood, seashells, or wreaths. Let an arrangement of Tillys dance along your wall. Suspend a few from clear globes or group them in a decorative bowl on your coffee table.
For a large space, feature a statement plant as a focal point. Do you have children or pets? If so, keep plants at a safe distance with shelves, brackets, suspended globes, magnetic plates, hanging pots, and suction cup planters.
Topiary adds an elegant touch, especially with spiral and lollipop frames. Or, lend romance to your living room with topiary stars and hearts. With a terrarium, grow a collection of plants as a container garden.
All these designs infuse a living room with beauty, freshness, and vibrancy. Enjoy your gorgeous haven!