Going Green with Indoor Houseplants

Varying colors, sizes, and types of plants are key to indoor greenery.


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Sarah Coombs is an interior designer based in Alameda.

Fiddle leaf fig photo by Emily May/Flickr (CC).

 

It’s dry out there, and, unfortunately, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. But while it may be responsible to let that lawn go brown, there’s no need to forgo green vegetation indoors. Following is a primer for creating an interior plantscape that’s verdant and lush, not to mention eco-friendly, too.

First, decide where you want to place your plants, and take note of the light conditions there throughout the day. Is it direct in the morning? Shaded in the afternoon? This will determine the best type of plant for that area, so it’s important to be aware of the specifics.

Next, head over to the nearest knowledgeable nursery. Small, independent shops are your best bet, as their staffs are encouraged to talk to you about your needs. Discuss the light conditions in your space, and if you’re a gardening neophyte, don’t hide it. Some plants are much easier to care for than others, so it’s best to be upfront about your experience level from the get-go.

If you’re buying multiple plants, consider how they’ll look as a piece. You want a good variety of sizes, colors, and texture. If your room will support it, anchor the space with a large tree, like a fiddle leaf fig. Next, mix in plants with different colors and textures. Think spiky ferns, luscious succulents, and lacy, drapey ivy, in shades ranging from emerald to chartreuse. That variance will keep things interesting, and the contrast will heighten the qualities of each individual plant. Don’t forget to give your plants some attractive pots, too. Just make sure to choose to tailor your choices to the palette of your room.

Now that you have your indoor garden, plan to care for it responsibly. One easy option is to use “warmup water.” That’s what runs down the drain while you wait for the shower or sink to heat. Just capture the water in a bowl or bucket and decant it into a watering can.

Follow these steps, and you’ll create an interior landscape that’s beautifully fresh and most definitely green—in every sense of the word.

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