Green is definitely having a moment. From wallpaper to furniture to home accents of every variety — including artfully designed Instagram pics of avocado toast — green is taking a prominent place in design right now. Not since the 1970s have we been so in love with the shade, verified by Pantone’s choice of Greenery, ” … a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew,” as its 2017 Color of the Year.
We admit it. We’re a little obsessed. And we suspect that like so many of you right now, we’re ready to get to the root of this interior design trend — designing with houseplants. This stylish trend works in every interior space, no matter its size or design style. Plus adding plants as an interior design element brings added health benefits, like improving air quality inside your home.
Ready to bring a little green inside? Here are some of our favorite interior plants, interior plant trends and great advice from a few our favorite plant experts. We spoke to landscape architect Mamie Kostka, from Page|Duke Landscape Architects, and plant and floral designer Bridget Davis, from Mahonia, a plant and floral design shop based in Louisville, to find out which plants they love as well as to get a few tips about how to keep them happy and thriving.
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)
This stunning indoor plant is a favorite designer pick and for good reason. As Mamie from Page|Duke explains, “One of our favorite plants for indoors is the fiddle leaf fig. The interior designers really love them too with their structural shape and dynamic leaf size. They look especially great in pairs and with the more branches they get.”
Bridget from Mahonia also mentioned this plant as one of her favorites. Her clients and customers love them as well. “The fiddle leaf makes a great statement piece and does great in well-lit rooms,” she tells us.
Gorgeous in groups and fun picks for unconventional containers, succulents come in a wide range of shapes and colors, and tend to stay relatively small. Mamie from loves these little gems. “Succulents are having their heyday,” she shares, quickly advising, “Just be sure to not overwater them.”
We love these beauties in simple terra cotta pots or in terrariums by the bedside.
Air Plants (Tillandsia)
The ultimate plant for the green-thumb-challenged among us, air plants are almost magical in their ability to survive an arid climate. Use in hanging terrariums with sand, small shells, rocks or any other organic accents for a minimalist, ethereal presence in any room. Just remember to soak them once a week for an hour or so, or gently spritz with water inside their terrarium home.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
With its long and angular striped leaves and deep green color, snake plant is another interior design darling right now. And even better, this is the plant that Bridget immediately suggested when asked to recommend a “starter plant” with impact. As she explains, “Snake plant is great in lower-light interiors. They have a very striking vertical presence and are super easy to care for — perfect for the beginner!”
Miniature Fruit Trees
As Mamie, in true landscape architect style, gushes, “There’s nothing more classic than a miniature citrus tree if you have the space and the lighting for it.” We completely agree. If you have a bright, sunny room, we suggest a pair of small potted citrus trees. Olive trees are more subtle but quietly beautiful with their delicate, silvery leaves.
Feeling the green inspiration? Here are a few more important tips from Mamie and Bridget to keep in mind before you pick up the interior plants to complete your space.
Bridget loves the variety of containers available and stocks a wide range in her shop. We love simple, white stoneware, woven baskets, hammered brass or even basic terra cotta. That said, Bridget’s biggest tip for plant novices is think about drainage first. “Drainage is not often considered when it comes to houseplants, but it is of the utmost importance,” she shares. “Make sure your plants are in a pot that has a drain — you can almost always drill a hole if it doesn’t have one. Or, use cachepots to hide your plastic growers pot. If you go that route, be sure to remove the plastic pot from the cachepot to water.”
Mamie adds that most of the plants on her list of interior plant favorites — succulents, fiddle leaf figs and miniature fruit trees — adapt well to the outdoors when the weather is right. “All these plants can be moved in and out of a screen porch for summer,” she says, “but be sure not to place them to a totally different exposure than they were over winter or they’ll drop all their leaves or worse. ”
If you’re looking for even more tips for stylishly greening your interior with plants, we also suggest picking up a copy of Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants, by Igor Josifovic and Judith De Graaff. And be sure to check with your local plant store for the best varieties, new trends and advice for growing success. Happy growing!
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