Better together: Plants that are happier in groups

I fully understand the visual impact of a giant, luscious monstera in the corner of the room, standing out dramatically amidst the furniture; but I am an advocate of having several plants together, in small groups to create a greener, almost jungle-like feel to the space. This is not only an aesthetic choice, but also greatly benefits the plants. Plants tend to be happier in groups and I'll explain why and which ones should be together.

Being together is the natural thing to do

Hardly any plant grows successfully in its natural habitat when isolated and in complete solitude, but they group together according to their requirements and manage to establish very interesting symbiotic relationships. For example, there are rainforest plants that do not tolerate direct sunlight, so they grow at the foot of tall trees that act as natural filters. Others, such as the blue star fern, are epiphytes and cling to trees so that they can get plenty of moisture without risking their delicate roots becoming waterlogged and rotting.

Planting or keeping plants of different species together is nothing new. In fact, in North America, the "3 Sisters" method was used, which consisted of planting corn, beans and squash together. The corn offers its stalks for the beans to climb, which in turn provide nitrogen to the soil, benefiting all 3 plants. The pumpkin, believing itself to be a creeping plant, protects the soil and keeps it moist, preventing weed growth.

By grouping plants with similar moisture requirements, mini-biomes can be created, small environmental bubbles that help to create and maintain the right levels to ensure the survival of the plants, which will also alleviate the workload and responsibility of the person in charge of caring, watering and maintaining them.

Keeping plants together will not only be a wonderful stylistic decision for your spaces, but will also save you time when it comes to watering and maintaining your miniature jungle. If you keep plants that have similar care together, you will be able to establish watering patterns so you can take care of them all at the same time, without having to check the substrate of all of them or having to remember what day you watered this one and if it's the next one's turn. By keeping your plants together everyone will be happy, including you.

how to group plants?

Before you run off to create fun compositions with your plants, playing with height and size, it is important to know that plants should be grouped according to certain criteria, which will allow them to benefit from each other's company.

  • Lighting: consider the space where you want to place the plants. does it receive direct sunlight because it is close to a window? Or, on the contrary, is it oriented in such a way that it does not receive much light, depending on the case, you should consider a group of plants whose light requirements are adapted to this situation.

  • Humidity: Tropical plants such as calatheas, alocasias and maranthas need high levels of humidity, so you could create a nice composition with these plants in a space where they receive filtered light. Avoid placing them with succulents and cacti, which prefer lower humidity levels.

  • Watering Frequency: I love to put plants that have similar watering requirements together, as it allows me to take care of them at the same time, without having to check the substrate and try to remember when I last watered them. If you always forget to water, you can try a nice trio of immortal cacti.

  • Special features: I love plants that serve an extra function besides being ornamental. For this reason I am never short of aromatic plants and purifying plants, which are responsible for offering me natural alternatives for seasoning my meals and eliminating harmful substances from the environment.
  • Toxicity: there are plants that are not suitable for pets and children, so those can go in places that are difficult to access to avoid accidents. You can put the safest ones in more visible places, such as a group of magnificent ferns.
  • Appearance: Once you have chosen the location, watering frequency and light needs of your plants, you can start creating compositions by playing with colours, heights and foliage. You can try putting tall and short plants together, playing with symmetry, taking advantage of some plants with similar characteristics. The golden rule of interior design when putting plants and objects together is to do it in odd numbers, as it gives a sense of harmony.

If you don't know much about plants, haven't yet acquired your small collection or want to expand your plant inventory, you can take advantage of a shortcut: Be Green's trios, which have been thought of as a group that share all the above-mentioned characteristics. For example, the Summer trio of plants will stand up wonderfully to the heat, but will remain perfect all year round; while the Purifier trio will be your little cleaning army that will remove toxic particles from the environment.

Accompany your group of plants with some matching decorative pots or furniture to give them height and dynamism, you will have a very powerful decorative tool to give dimension and colour to the space, while improving the quality of the air you breathe. Remember: together is always better.
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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

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.

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