Decorate with container plants
Rotating plants between outdoors and indoors adds a refreshing new dimension to container gardening and a note of surprise to interior decoration. The concept is simple; You have plants that look beautiful in their containers on the terrace, patio, deck, under the roof overhang or near the entry way. Why not bring them inside for a special occasion, or just to enjoy them up close.
When the weather is cold and outdoor container plants are not getting full attention, it is a good time to try moving some of them indoors. Some plants may stay inside only for an evening, a day, or a weekend. But if the plant is amenable, you may keep it inside for a week or two, or perhaps for months. Experiment. There is no such thing as a hard and fast category of indoor-outdoor plants, any plant you like is a potential candidate. Often such plants are appreciated more fully when brought inside.
Decorative uses for indoor-outdoor plants
The possibilities for the attractive use of outdoor plants in the house are almost endless. It would be best for you to experiment with your plants to find what is most pleasing to your eyes. Besides the obvious pleasure of enhancing an interior, bringing plants indoors rewards in other ways. There is the delight of watching a fern frond unfold or of seeing the miraculous opening of a bud or blossom. Potted azaleas brought indoors when the buds first begin to show color will continue to flower for weeks. Blossoms remain more perfect indoors without the spattering and battering of mud, rain, and wind.
An important contribution to the effectiveness of plants placed in the house is made by lighting. A plant placed under a lamp is automatically spot-lighted. In the light of a lamp, even such a familiar, old-fashioned plant as coleus or geranium takes on a new aura in which its texture is magnified and its color heightened. For a party atmosphere, use candles or spotlights. Plants appear glamorous in flickering candlelight and concealed spotlights create dramatic and theatrical effects on plants or plants groupings.
Your choice of containers is almost as wide open as your choice of plants. A handsome plant deserves a handsome container. Ideally the size, shape, color and texture of a container should relate to the plant as well as to the interior setting. The simpler its design and the less obtrustive its color, the more complementary the container will be to the plant and its indoor environment.
For a temporary stay inside, especially if you expect to set it out in the garden shortly, a plant can stay in its nursery pot and can be placed inside a larger display container. If the container is larger, place perlite or gravel in the bottom to raise the pot up. Then pour more around the edges to fill in the sides, then top dress with bark or moss to conceal the pot, this also will help to hold moisture.
Where to place plants
The size and shape of the plant and its container will determine where you should place it. It is often fun to bring in a large plant for a special occasion. A tubbed tree that seems comparatively small outside will take on giant proportions in a small room and can add an exciting jungle atmosphere. But ordinary a plant should be more appropriate in a size to the area it occupies.
Plants should relate not only to their backgrounds but also to other plants and adjacent objects. Combinations of plants seen close up indoors can be just as satisfying as groups plantings in the garden. Plants placed in front of mirrors will give you two of everything. Emphasize an elegant plant by placing it where it will be reflected in waxed wood, polished marble or other glossy surface.
Though the growth requirement for plants do not change when brought indoors, a few hints as to indoor care should be helpful.
Light; Light is extremely important. Most plants kept indoors for any lenght of time need all the light you can give them; this applies particularly to plants whose entire lives have been spent outdoors. Most outdoor plants will get along best indoors if you keep them in a cool location near a window. It will also help to give them additional light from a lamp, especially during the winter period of limited daylight.
Of course, plants that normally grow outdoors in shade or partial shade (such as most ferns, aucuba or fatsia) will succeed with less light. Even a few succulents, notably dudleya and gasteria, take low light conditions over long periods, but remember that a plant accustomed to growing in shade outdoors will burn if you expose it to full sun shining through a window facing west or south. In fact, even sun tolerant plants need protection from extreme heat created by sunlight shining through glass.
Water and humidity; The atmosphere in many homes is too warm and dry for plants, particularly for plants normally grown outdoors. To overcome this handicap, follow the usual procedure for regular house plants. Place the container on a layer of pebbles in a deep saucer or pan. Barely cover the pebbles with water, as it evaporates, it will release moisture into the atmosphere around the plants.