How to group your plants to help them grow better and look better.
The size of an indoor garden doesn’t matter, it can be a luxuriant landscaped balcony or just a few planters on the windowsill. Whatever be the size of green oasis, they all add a bright new dimension to your home. Hundreds of years of domesticating plants has led to the eclectic choice of house plants we can choose from now. The range of plants fit for home gardening is vast and keeps growing with exotic varieties being added every day.
The skill lies in identifying the varieties that work best for you and your space and not losing your way in the stunning forest of indoor plants. One of the best ways to display your signature sense of style and understanding of houseplants is by grouping together plants. Now, grouping of plants is not only for its looks, but it also helps plants grow better. They create their own community, plants in groups always grow better than plants that grow alone.
Some foliage plants simply look much more attractive when grouped together to be displayed as a single unit. Grouping can be of many types; it can be as simple as bringing together plants in different pots together and arranging them in a cluster on the floor or windowsill to create a stunning display with variety of form, colour, texture, and pattern of foliage. It can also be about bringing together individual liner pots (plastic pots used in nurseries) in a bigger decorative pot. The most exquisite displays are of plants that are planted together in one container.
Here we are going to talk about the various plants requirements and design aesthetics that you can keep in mind while grouping plants. There is just one rule when it comes to grouping and its absolute when planting plants in one container, all the plants must have the same requirements. You cannot pair a succulent with a fern because while moisture is a boon to one its bane to the other. So plants that are compatible are a must and you can make your own displays.
So, what are we waiting for, let’s go!
The guiding principles:
- The simplest is to group together plants of the same type/family. Mix together different forms and colours of cactuses to make a desert garden or bring together succulents of varying forms and colours to make a stunning desert terrariums.
Group together zebra haworthia (erect) with succulents in contrasting shapes like echeveria (flatter) and add some flowy shape with a String of Pearls or donkeys tale. One way to add colour to this is with a moon cactus or variegated crassula.
- One popular way of grouping is by shape. A display can be roughly spherical, conical, flat horizontal, vertical columnar, or triangular. Whatever the shape, it can be further emphasized by a complimentary planter shape.
For a tall container use a moss stick to help vine like philodendron climb and pair it with a Ficus variety to complement the height. If you want to add some depth let a trailing variety grow down the sides of the tall planter.
- For a more subtle grouping get together a Spathiphyllum and pair it with an Aglaonema or a small cobra fern. You can also add a dracaena for some height and variety of foliage.
- When creating a hanging basket of grouped plants the idea is to not make it to weighed down in term of foliage. Bring together plants with more delicate foliage but in contrasting colours and shape like spider plants, rabbit’s foot fern, and a wispier philodendron like the broken heart.
- To add colour to a group bring together brightly coloured plants like croton or red aglaonema with mellower foliage like ferns or peperomias. You can also add trailing varieties like the sedum as ground cover.
- Pair flowering plants like kalanchoes with peperomia, fittonia, and philodendron on a moss stick. The idea is to use brightly coloured flowering plants with darker green foliage of contrasting shapes and growing patterns.
- Create your own tropical forest with bamboo palms growing alongside variegated peperomia, Fittonia and a Ficus benjamina.
You can also group together plants in individual pots in a larger container for a more striking look. If you are a pro gardener you can go ahead and group together any plant, but if you are someone who is still learning the ropes, stick to plants with similar light and water requirements. That way it is easier to take care of the whole group because different plants need different things in different light conditions.
While grouping plants never overlook the impact a good planter can have on your space. Don’t shy away from investing in a good planter. A good classic planter will stay with you forever and you can keep using the same one for many plants season after season. Metallic toned planters add luxury to space while colourful ceramic planters can add the much needed colourful patterns to break the monotony of a space. While white minimalistic and monochrome planters make the space lighter and airier.
Grouping plants is a great way to take the same common and easily available house plants and create something interesting out of them. It allows you to add your own personal touch to you space and have a unique piece that no one else has. It brightens corners and draws eyes to those corners we generally ignore.
So, get your creative socks on and start looking at plants differently and wonder if this plant will go well with the other one and just mix and match.