Using Plants as Living Decoration

Plants nowadays come in such a variety of forms and textures that they can be seen as objects of decoration in their own right. Indoor plants, if well chosen and cared for, can make a significant impact. They also have a part to play in the health of a building. During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to purify the air.

To be truly eye-catching, houseplants need to be chosen carefully. If they become lank and unhealthy they will hinder rather than help the look of a room. Positioning a plant will have a huge impact on whether they thrive or just survive. Different plants need varying amounts of light, warmth, humidity and water.

African violets are a good choice for an area of shade or semi-darkness. They have very attractive dark green foliage. There is a multitude of colours to choose from and they will flower for ages.

African Violet(52720)Credit: Wikimedia

Calathea like some shade in summer and are best if not put on the windowsill. They are an attractive plant with short stems and large leaves. The variegated foliage is green, white, yellow and purple.

Spider plants will cope with being on a bright ledge or windowsill. The variegated leaves add interest. New plants will grow from the runners adding interest to the plant. Spider plants look good from any angle and suit a position where they can pass through bars. Ferns would suit such a position too. Ferns are also a good choice as a centre piece.

Spider Plant(52719)Credit: Wikimedia

During summer, a Boston fern makes a nice centrepiece on an empty hearth. The shape of the fronds adds extra interest. Coleus is another good choice for a coffee table or table centrepiece. The coleus has velvety leaves in a variety of colours such as red, green, white and pink.

Plants that trail, such as ivy, can be used to move the eye to a new area. Ivy can be used to soften a sharp corner and also looks most attractive spilling over a divide.

Lucky bamboo is a great choice for a position that needs a vertical accent. Dracaena marginata (Madagascar Dragon Tree) is another plant that makes a dramatic architectural statement. The Madagascar Dragon Tree has a thick stem which then becomes an explosion of thin, linear, grassy type leaves. This plant needs minimal care although it is subject to root decay if kept permanently wet. Tall, thin plants like these can be used to make the ceiling appear higher than it is.

The Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) would suit an empty bathroom corner. It is compact and hardy and was popular for years as an attractive plant for the 'parlour' hence its name.

An oversized plant can be used to give the illusion of a smaller room. A tall plant which then drapes towards the floor again will also make a tall ceiling appear somewhat lower.
The ponytail palm (Nolina recurvata) is an example. Its bottle-shaped trunk and bouffant hair-do will draw many admiring glances.

Groupings of plants look good too. Maybe choose a mix of foliage and flowering plants. Small pots on a coffee table, next to the bathroom basin or on a kitchen windowsill add to the interest of the area. Potted herbs are an obvious choice for a kitchen.

The pots used for indoor plants should be chosen carefully as these can make a statement on their own. Some plants are more elegant than others so consider whether you are seeking a formal or casual air.

Plants are a great way to provide decorative touches indoors.