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  Displaying Indoor Plants - How to display plants in your home, office or conservatory

Displaying Indoor Plants Our Guide to Displaying Indoor Plants.

In most homes plants tend to be displayed as single specimens-on the floor, a windowsill or furniture. This is an important use of plants, but for those without a garden, or looking to extend their garden, then to bring it into the home is a solution. A marvelous display can be created.
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Grouping plants gives you the opportunity to display your own arrangements and because plants are normally in individual pots the display can be changed regularly.

Creating these groups of plants is also beneficial for the plants. The air humidity around the plants is raised, the effect of draughts is lowered and any damaged parts or less striking specimens can be hidden away.

Plants should be displayed in keeping with the surroundings. A large architectural specimen would look out of place in a small room. Similarly, small, individual plants can look lost in a large, spacious room.

Look at the four main ways of displaying plants in the home to decide which best suits your surroundings and tastes.

The Specimen Plant

A decent sized plant can be used as the focal point of any room. Mature plants are quite expensive to buy, so a good plan is to buy smaller plants, repotting regularly as it grows, to be placed in a permanent position later. Do check the eventual size of your plant as some can grow extensively and outgrow the space allocated.

Foliage plants, usually trees and false palms, are used to fill empty spaces or even to divide rooms. These include plants such as Dracaena, Fatsia japonica, Ficus benjamina and Yucca.

Some climbers make excellent specimen plants at quite a low price, especially the fast growing ones. There are foliage and flowering types available. Good examples of foliage specimens are Philodendrons and Vines, whereas Hoya and Thungbergia are excellent flowering specimens.

Hanging plants can be displayed individually in baskets, on pedestals or part of a group. Examples are Chlorophytum and Nephrolepsis.

Many house plants have multi-coloured foliage which gives a striking effect when displayed as specimen plants, Begonia rex, Caladium and Cordyline terminalis are perfect examples.

Some of the flowering plants that are available give such colourful displays that they are displayed on their own, including Cyclamen, Hydrangea and Poinsettia.

Using the right container for these specimen plants is essential. The pot holder should be taller than the pot. Filling the space in between the holder and the pot with peat helps with retaining moisture and increasing humidity.

The size of the pot is also important. A large palm would look top heavy in a small pot. Also consider colour, to blend in with the surroundings. Multi-coloured plants do not look right in multi-coloured containers.

The Pot Group

Placing several plants together to make a pot group can transform your home. It gives a bold effect and smaller specimens seem to come to life when grouped with the larger leaved plants. In addition, the plants do not have to be perfect specimens as you can hide bare stems and damaged leaves using other plants.

Apart from appearance, grouping plants can have other benefits. Watering is easier and the humidity around the plants is increased. Plants which require a lot of water can be placed alongside plants like Cacti and Succulents as they are in individual pots.

There are no set rules about how a pot group is displayed. As long as the plants have the same basic lighting and heating requirements, it is down to individual taste. You can group up to a dozen pots together in individual pots, use professional containers which have several pots within, or group plants on a pebble tray.

Displaying in a group is a good way to display collections of plants, that is, several specimens of a similar plant. Cacti and Ferns look especially good when displayed this way.
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The Indoor Garden

An indoor garden can be made in any position. A large container needs to be found which is big enough to hold several plants. Specimens can either be removed from their pots and planted in potting compost or retained in their individual pots and stood on a layer of sand or gravel, surrounded by peat to disguise the pots.

The advantages are the same as the pot group but with a more natural effect. Any large planter can be used to create a garden border in your own home.

Different receptacles are available for creating your indoor garden, depending upon the space available. A fairly shallow dish can be used to display Cacti and Succulents. Deep bowls look nice planted up, usually with a taller foliage plant at the back, smaller plants to the front. There are a wide variety of planters available, including those with multiple levels for use in large areas.

Use plants like Sanseviera and Grevillea to give height. These provide height without spread therefore cast less shade on other plants. Medium size plants which have non-green foliage, therefore providing colour, can be provided by plants like the red-leaved Cordyline terminalis or the multi-coloured Coleus. Trailers like Ivy and Tradescantia are good for softening edges.

The Terrarium

The popularity of the terrarium has lessened in recent years but is an ideal way of displaying plants in your home. There is a variety of suitable containers available ranging from fish tanks and bowls to large bottles or even brandies snifters.

The idea of the terrarium is that the container surrounds the planting, limiting the air supply. This increases humidity and prevents draughts enabling you to grow delicate specimens which would struggle in open containers. Maintenance is quite low. Frequent watering is not needed because the terrarium is enclosed and moisture re-circulates.

Water-logging can be a major problem. If the container becomes misted with condensation simply remove the cover until it is clear. Containers should never stand in direct sunlight as this creates a greenhouse effect and plants become too hot.

The most popular of terrariums is the "Bottle Garden", which is surprising as they are more difficult to construct. We will shortly be publishing our guide to creating a bottle garden.

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