How To Style With Indoor Plants

It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with indoor (and outdoor!) plants and the verdant beauty of greenery - so much so that our entire brand is inspired by a tropical plant! Plants have the ability to transform a cold space into one of warmth and life. Teamed with a beautiful basket or statement planter, they’re the perfect solution for that awkward empty corner, or to inject colour into that stark, lifeless bathroom. They can disguise an eyesore, or draw attention to a feature. Whether it’s height or width, texture or colour, structure or featheriness that your space needs, there’s a plant for that.

 
A wall of greenery provides a stunning backdrop in the outdoor entertaining zone at the  Hunter Street Project .

A wall of greenery provides a stunning backdrop in the outdoor entertaining zone at the Hunter Street Project.

Indoor greenery warms and enlivens the interiors at the  Gloucester Street Project

Indoor greenery warms and enlivens the interiors at the Gloucester Street Project

 

But while we weave live greenery into a design or styling scheme on a daily basis, we always suggest checking in with a horticulturalist or the local nursery to make sure it’s appropriate for the specific conditions of the space. Here, we’ve tapped in to the 20+ years of experience of Paul Hyland from Melbourne’s Glasshaus, to uncover some of the secrets to success when it comes to selecting and caring for indoor plants.

 

 

H: So Paul, apart from looking gorgeous, what are some of the benefits of live greenery in the home? 

PH: They enhance your immediate environment in a number of ways. Plants help to purify the air as they act like natural filters for some airborne nasties. As we water our plants we are also adding moisture into the environment, so if the relative humidity is very low this can help to bring the humidity up to a more comfortable level.

H: What’s the biggest mistake people make when using indoor plants? 

PH: The number one mistake people make is putting indoor plants in a dark or inappropriately lit position. This is obviously not great for the health of the plants and also does nothing to help the effort you’ve put into your styling!

H: What’s the most indestructible indoor plant?

PH: In my experience, I believe the Monstera Deliciosa is the hardest plant to kill! 

H: Top plant pick for a super sunny window spot?

PH: Cactus or succulents. They are hardy, look great and can add some interesting texture to your interior.

 
Succulents are hardy options for interior plants and can be a striking, low maintenance option. Image via Pinterest.

Succulents are hardy options for interior plants and can be a striking, low maintenance option. Image via Pinterest.

The unmistakable foliage of the Monstera plant. Image from Pinterest via Plantsdonewine

The unmistakable foliage of the Monstera plant. Image from Pinterest via Plantsdonewine

 

H: What’s your current top seller? Why?

PH: Monstera. It is the classic indoor plant with sculptural foliage. They are super tough, easy to look after and look good in any environment.

H: Re-pot or not? Should we be transplanting indoor plants to a permanent potted home?

PH: Definitely always re-pot your indoor plants. It’s like putting fresh sheets on your bed. It’s as simple as looking at the plant’s proportions (height and width) as compared to the pot and re-potting based on that.

However, don't go TOO big when re-potting. Small increments are better, for example moving from 150mm to 200mm, then 200mm to 250mm and so on. Don't jump ahead in sizing as lots of indoor plants don't like it – especially palms! And don’t forget, if you're using a cover pot or a basket on the outside of your pot, then this needs to be upgraded too!

H: What watering wisdom can you share?

PH: Don't over-water! To check if your plant really needs watering, stick your fingers down to the second knuckle into the growing media. If it’s almost dry, it needs to be watered. If it’s moist you can hold off, but check often. This is the best method to maintain a healthy plant.

When it comes to watering inside, always place a plastic saucer under your pot regardless of size to protect your floors.

H: Do indoor plants need some time in the great outdoors? 

PH: Don’t shock your plant by putting it outside in the full sun when it’s been in a low light situation. Just like us, they will fry in direct sunlight! In fact, if you're going to put the plant outside choose overcast or rainy days – but not under 18 degrees – and give it a light hand water, because the rain doesn't always fall into the pot.

H: Any other advice for those looking to invest? 

PH: When you buy an indoor plant it pays to check its root system. Gently tip the plant upside down, out of the pot and if it’s already full you may need to pot up straight away. 

 

 

Heliconia’s Hot Picks:

Our love for indoor plants is limitless. And while we don’t like to play favourites, here are our top 5 right now.

strelizia 2.jpg

1. Strelizia (Bird of Paradise)

Why we love it: The broad leaf of the giant Strelizia is undoubtedly one of our favourites. It evokes a tropical vibe yet works in just about any interior setting, giving you both height and width in striking fashion. Team it with a simple lightweight planter or basket to complete the island-inspired aesthetic.

Styling tip: To balance the height, underplant with a low growing succulent or hanging plant that spills over the edges of the pot.

Best suits: High light

When to water: Often

 
 
 
Calathea.jpg

2. Peacock Plant and Calathea varietals

Why we love it: Based on name alone you know this plant has a beautiful and refined look. In fact, we’re calling all Calathea plants as the next big thing. With statement foliage showcasing feathery variegation it easily adapts to either being a standout or complementary element in any space.

Styling tip: Avoid patterned or ‘busy’ looking planters or baskets - keep it simple and classic to let the foliage detail shine.

Best suits: Medium light

When to water: Sparingly, finger test often

 
 
Maiden Hair.jpg

3. Maiden Hair Fern

Why we love it: With its delicate and ethereal demeanour, this is possibly the most graceful of ferns available. Combining intricate structure and bright colour, this is a stunning plant that works perfectly in many spaces and as a bonus it’s relatively easy to grow requiring little maintenance when well positioned. 

Styling tip: Works brilliantly in bathrooms as it softens all those hard surfaces (and loves the humid conditions of a wet zone).

Best suits: Well lit position, but out of direct sunlight and clear of any draughts 

When to water: Often, as well as misting leaves. 

 
 
Fiddle Leaf Fig.jpg

4. Fiddle Leaf Fig:

Why we love it: Yes, we all know the Fiddle Leaf Fig, and for good reason. Its lush complexion gives instant wow-factor, thriving best either indoors or on a shaded deck. Large, uniquely shaped glossy leaves make this a subtle standout that enhances any interior scape.

Styling tip: When purchasing, look for multiple primary stems in the pot for better fullness-factor as it grows.

Best suits: Medium to low light

When to water: Sparingly, finger test often

 
 
Indoor plant palm.jpg

5. Chinese Fan Palm:

Why we love it: Ranging from a deep green through to more bluish hues, its leaves grow in circular, segmented fans that are a spectacular sculptural accessory. A lively infusion of a tropical aesthetic that makes a sizeable statement in a well lit setting.

Styling tip: Give the girl some space to spread those magnificent wings.

Best suits: High light

When to water: Often

 
 

For more floral and foliage inspiration, check out the wonderful world of glasshaus.com.au

Images via Pinterest unless otherwise stated.


Sally V PatersonComment