When styling the perfect room, the details don’t stop with furnishings and hard finishes. For most designers, adding literal life to a space is essential and choosing the right greenery is just as important as the right piece of art. While we work on an aesthetic level and would love to choose all the details based simply on how they look, there are other considerations with plants – light requirements, temperature limits, potential growth and definitely how much work they will be. This week I’ve shared my own go-to’s for indoor plants and weighed in with a few local creatives who have shared what their favourite houseplant to work with is, and why.
1. Rachel Harrison of RoomCraft Design: The (indoor) Palm
“Palms are a great way to bring the outdoors in. They add a tropical vibe to even the most urban home, which sets a relaxed and beachy tone,” Harrison explains. “I loved using this Butterfly Palm because I find it also keeps a visual reference of warmer destinations for future getaways and daydreams.”
Light requirements: a bright room but no direct sunlight (they can actually get a sunburn!)
Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater
Size: Butterfly Palms (aka Areca Palms) can grow up to 8ft indoors, so are an ideal space filler.
2. Erin Sousa of Sparkle Media: The Fiddle Leaf Fig
Erin shares, “I love the freshness that my Fiddlehead Fig brings into my living room – it’s the perfect shape and size to fill an empty corner, plus, it’s super modern and on trend!”
Light requirements: a bright room with minimal direct light (early morning direct light only)
Watering: moderate, allow the top soil to become dry but do not overwater; water less during the Winter months
Size: another great focal point for any space, the Fiddle Leaf can grow up to 9ft in height
3. Joy Leimanis of Spade & Pointer: The Succulents
“Succulents are a stylish and easy way to add plant life to any home,” Leimanis explains. As a greenery designer, she shares why these little plants are so versatile: “I love working with succulents not only for their unique appearance, but also for ease of care. They thrive on a sunny windowsill where other plants may suffer (as they would dry out too fast), require little water so they are low maintenance and they are less attractive to pests than many traditional house plants. Succulents are available in an array of colours, shapes and textures which can make for uniquely attractive planter combinations which add visual interest to any decor.”
Light requirements: bright window spots are best, especially if South or West facing.
Watering: light watering. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Size: varies depending on type of succulent
4. My Pick: The Cactus
“I feel like in many ways the cactus is my spirit plant – I’m a sun-seeker, I love hot, dry temperatures and am adverse to the rain. My personal aesthetic currently has a very California desert vibe going on, so adding a variety of cacti really helps set that tone. The biggest bonus? These plants are almost impossible to kill… even during the Summer months they require very little water, and even less so while they are dormant in the Winter.”
Light requirements: your sunniest spot will do nicely – remember, these are desert plants. They can handle direct sunlight, but it’s best to turn the pot every so often so that all sides of the plant is receiving equal light (and to avoid burning one spot).
Watering: very minimal regular watering through the warmer months, and less watering during with Winter allows the plant to go dormant while it’s cool. Overwatering quickly causes rot within cacti.
Size: varies depending on type of cactus.
5. My Pick: The Bromeliad
“Design is all about texture, layers and details. That’s why I love using Bromeliads – they offer a lot of layers and organic movement, which makes each one a little different. With the larger varieties like this Urn Plant, I enjoy the presence they bring to a room… they feel somehow elegant and ominous at the same time. I find them a little tricky to get to flower, but once they do, it’s super cool and again, adds a whole new element of texture.”
Light requirements: very bright rooms with no direct sunlight
Watering: these are unique because you water the ‘vases’ created by the leaves (replace every 2-3 weeks) and only water the soil when it is dry to the touch
Size: typically grows up to 18in. in height (although this very mature urn plant has exceeded that)