Plants are here to stay. More than a simple decoration, plants have become unique pieces that integrate organically into the space, becoming in many cases the main element, where all eyes converge. Bringing plants into the home is a simple task, but one that requires a certain amount of prior preparation. It is true that you can go to a nursery and come back with the first plant that you thought was cute, but if you want it to survive and become part of the place where you want to place it, it is better to apply some little tricks to make the process a success. Take a look at these 5 ways to introduce plants into your home, and be prepared to choose the species that best suits your home and lifestyle.
What to do before introducing plants
We all know the sad story of the person who gets excited about a plant, brings it home and despite all the effort, the plant dies a slow and hopeless death; indeed, you may be the protagonist of this anecdote. The problem here is not that you have a curse that causes everything you touch to perish, but that you have skipped the first step: knowing your space. This is the only way to ensure that the plant that enters your home will survive and develop happily. Before ordering plants, be sure to follow these steps:
- Check the lighting in the space
Sometimes it is confusing to establish whether a place has direct, indirect or low light. There are several tricks. Go in the middle of the day to the place where you want to put your new plants: the living room, the terrace, your bedroom, wherever. Raise your hand and let the shadow be cast. If the shadow of your hand is dark, has sharp, well-defined edges, then you are looking at a well-lit space. If, on the other hand, the shadow is light, with blurred edges, then there is little light. Check whether the sun is shining directly on that spot at any time of the day or not.
Another indicator is the orientation of the room. If it is to the north, the light will always be indirect but if it is to the east or west, it may be direct or bright indirect, depending on the side of the wall. Normally, one metre in front of the window is bright indirect, as the sun does not shine into the space. Away from the window (about 3 metres, for example) it is low light and all around the window it is direct.
- Be honest with your lifestyle
This is one of the most important parts of choosing the ideal plants. You should be very honest with your lifestyle, your habits and even who you share the space with. When looking for plants, take into account if you have pets, if they can play with or bite the plants or if you have small children, as some species are toxic if consumed but there are many others that are totally safe.
are you a person who travels a lot? do you spend your days away from home? are you forgetful? are you the kind of person who goes a bit overboard with care? All these details are important, because they will determine the type of plants that will suit you best. If you travel every month or are away from home for several days, you can't have a high-maintenance plant. You need plants that require little watering or rely on certain elements such as self-watering devices.
- Define your objectives
why do you want to introduce plants into your home? Maybe you are looking to add a little life to your space, maybe you want to create a little green corner where you can retreat to have a drink while reading in the evenings. Some people want to redecorate a terrace with plants, while others want plants that improve the atmosphere and the air they breathe.
It is important to define what your goals are, as this will make it easier to establish a plan for acquiring the perfect plants for your space. If you're looking for an interesting decorative piece and a new hobby, you can get a bonsai and that's it; but if you want something with impact you can start creating living pictures with succulents. Imagine it, think about it and then create a plan that you can execute.
How to introduce plants into your home
Once you are very clear about the environmental conditions of your space and your goals it's time to start thinking about how you can integrate those plants into your home. Some people start by buying a single plant and then build up their collection gradually, while others prefer to make a comprehensive purchase to create the look they want precisely.
Here are some ideas that you can apply to integrate plants into your spaces, the idea is that you can make them part of the décor and even create new areas within the home where plants are the centre of attention.
1. Make the most of your vertical space with vivid pictures
One of my favourite trends is live pictures, because they are the perfect option for those who want a natural decorative element but don't have the space or simply don't want to alter their current décor too much by adding plant furniture or changing the arrangement of objects. As they hang directly on the walls, they make creative use of vertical space.
Live pictures are a collection of plants, most often succulents, which are mounted on particular brackets on the walls. They look like paintings, but are beautiful vertical gardens. Also known as living walls, they can be a way to purify the environment, improve air quality and transform the character of the place.
You can buy the supports, made of wood and/or aluminium, they are lightweight and can be found in any shape and size you prefer. For watering and fertilising, sprinklers are used and if they are small, you can lower them to water in the traditional way and then hang them up again. Succulents or other low maintenance plants are often used, so it will be no problem to keep it bright and happy. They also create beautiful compositions that will surprise you with the shape and harmony of the plants. Learning how to make them is easy and is a great and relaxing pastime.
2. More is more: plant maximalism
One of the greatest fears of those starting out in the world of indoor plants is to overcrowd the place with plants. Those who advocate the sparse minimalist aesthetic may be outraged by maximalism, which is its opposite: here the aim is to create a dense, opulent space, full of plants and greenery. Created in the 1970s under the concept of urban jungles, maximalism aims to reproduce the jungle environment indoors.
Urban jungles are not unreasonable, as jungles are characterised by closed canopy spaces, thanks to the tall trees that protect the plants growing underneath, which can be easily reproduced at home. You can have as many plants as you want, in fact if it looks a bit chaotic and messy it is better, because it evokes that organic disorder of natural spaces. You can incorporate shelves, tables or furniture, better if they offer different levels.
You can create your green spaces full of plants in any room where you have enough light. You can combine them with walls in neutral colours, which allow the greenery and the colours and shapes of the leaves of your plants to stand out. Group them according to their species, take advantage of the walls, hang them from the ceiling and flood everything with their foliage. There is always a corner for another plant. You will be surprised by the result and how beautiful and relaxing your home will be.
3. Use Feng Shui
If you are the type of person for whom energies and the way spaces flow is the most important thing, then you can use some of the precepts of Feng Shui to introduce plants into your home. This ancient discipline seeks to organise all the objects in the house in certain positions in a way that stimulates the flow of positive energy and avoids or balances the possible discordant energy that may be in the space.
Feng Shui is a very exact discipline and you would have to locate all the baguas in your house if you want a precise distribution, but if you are looking to improve the movement of positive energy, then you can approach this from a slightly more general perspective, using only the cardinal points of your home. Thus, in the South zone of the house you should place plants that nurture the element of fire such as flowers. This will improve your ability to deal with problems and solve them.
In the east and southeast, where the element of wood predominates, plants will be placed to improve the economic aspect. Here a nice Jade would do wonders for creativity, economy and social relations. In the living room and entrance of the house you can place plants with rounded leaves, which allow the flow of energy and increase fortune and luck.
There are plants like the Lucky Bamboo that you can place anywhere in the house, because they balance the 5 elements, harmonise negative energy and attract prosperity. If you can, place it in the bagua of wealth or work. Pachira is also a good addition in the baguas of money, fame and health but never in the area of marriage. do you want to work on serenity and harmony? Use orchids to give colour and enhance love. Place them in the bedroom. do you want a plant for the kitchen? You can use citrus trees or aromatic herbs with rounded leaves.
4. Use windows
Windows are privileged spaces for plants, as they offer them one of the elements they need to grow happily: plenty of light. If you don't have a garden, balcony or terrace, you can take advantage of the windows to have those species that require direct sun or a lot of light. In fact, your windowsills have all the environmental requirements for plants to thrive. They also decorate your flat even from the outside.
If you have naughty pets or small children who don't leave plants alone, having them in the windows is the solution, as they will be out of reach. You can install window boxes that face outwards, plant seasonal flowers or other perennials. Succulents and cacti are a great option, as they are full sun and you can create compositions with interesting shapes and textures in the window boxes. It is possible to place plant supports facing inwards, hanging from the window sill, or to place a planter with several pots inside.
For those who like hanging plants, you can hang pots of ferns, ivy, tradescantias or other hanging plants on curtain rods, framing the window. want an option for the kitchen? You can put rails in front of the window and hang pots with aromatic herbs, almost like a vegetable curtain. With a little imagination you can place your plants in front of the window.
5. Fill up with flowers and colours
I am of the opinion that everything is better with flowers. If you are someone who likes to have fresh flowers in vases indoors, replace those vases with pots of flowering houseplants. While they may not be as showy at certain times of the year (although this depends on the species) you will be surprised by the soft, delicate beauty of these plants. And their green leaves, in a variety of textures and sizes, are also part of the attraction.
African violets are hardy and bloom almost all year round. Anthuriums are beautiful and go well with minimalist interiors, as is the Peace Lily, which will always delight you with its delicate white flowers. Tilandsias have amazing flowers in shades of red or violet. Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana is beautiful and easy to care for. Hydrangeas, Celosias, Begoñas and Gerberas... the variety is wide. As if that wasn't enough, you can play with the colours of the flowers to match your decoration, complementing or creating contrasts. Nature is the best complement for any decorative style.
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.