Using plants in your home decor and keep them alive

By Keira Favazza

When I bought my first home I was excited to decorate and create a space that reflected my style. My husband kept buying me houseplants in lieu of cut flowers because he thought they would last longer than a pretty bouquet and decorate our home. I promptly killed most of them, proving him wrong.

As a designer I didn’t consider using a lot of plants in my projects because I wasn’t very in tune with how to take care of them. I opted for faux plants to use as accessories here and there and left it at that. I attended a ‘Plant Night’ with a friend and I promptly killed the succulent garden that we put together because I way over-watered it. That was the final straw for me, I wanted to know how to keep houseplants alive. Lots of other people could do it, why couldn’t I? I had some success in my garden outdoors, but I couldn’t seem to get the knack of keeping plants alive indoors. This past year I have started to educate myself a bit more on how to take care of houseplants by listening to podcasts and asking questions at my local garden center. I have slowly started to accumulate a few plants and my confidence is growing. Here are a few things I have found that have helped me keep my plants alive so far:

  • Pay attention to the amount of light that your plant requires. Some plants are happier with a very small amount of light and others want to sit in the sun all day. Locate them in your home according to how much light they need.
  • When you water your plant make sure you water it deeply. I’ve found they are happier if you wait a longer time between watering and give them a good drink. If you dump a bit of water on them here and there, they didn’t seem to like that very much.
  • Make sure they have good drainage, either with a hole in the pot and a saucer or by putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of your pot before adding the soil and houseplant. I am an over waterer, so this was an important lesson for me!
  • When in doubt, leave it alone for a little while. I am always checking my plants to see if they need water and if they feel dry. I have been trying to be a good plant mom and not drown them so if I am not sure if it needs water, I take a step back for a few days.

There are also ways you can use plants in your home that will help solve some design dilemmas:

  • Houseplants can add color and breathe life into a space (not to mention some fresh air). A lot of people are opting to use white walls and neutrals in their interiors right now and some of the most successful ones have incorporated some plant life into them. These plants help balance out the light colors by adding a bit of contrast with their foliage.
  • A tall plant can also add a bit of height to a vignette or countertop where you may have a group of small accessories. If I have a piece of furniture tucked into a corner of the room I often put a tall plant in the corner and then arrange picture frames or a few meaningful objects around it.
  • A larger plant in a beautiful planter on the floor can also help fill an empty corner in a room. Pay attention to how much light your plant needs and make sure you don’t plant it too close to a heating or cooling vent. Plants don’t like to be blasted with hot or cold air for too long!
  • Finding a unique planter or pot can also bring in some texture or color into your room. You can tuck a plant pot into a basket or you can even use wall mounted planters to liven up a space.

I hope some of these ideas and tips will help you if are looking to add more greenery to your home décor. Using indoor houseplants can add texture, color, and a little bit more life in your home. I am no expert in keeping plants alive (based on my track record) but as I designer with ten years’ experience I do know that adding some plant life to your home adds another element to your decor. If you are looking for a podcast that might help get you started, I really enjoy ‘Bloom and Grow Radio’ on iTunes. She also has a great episode about ‘not killing succulents’ that might come in handy if you are brave enough to start growing them. Maybe if I had found her earlier I would still have my succulent garden!

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