How to Arrange Indoor Plants: 6 Tips and Tricks


Learning how to arrange indoor plants does not involve specialized skills. Anyone can learn to arrange houseplants in a fashion that is elegant, beautiful, and pleasing to the eye. There are hundreds of arrangements for indoor plants to enhance both the lives of the plants and the aesthetic value they bring.

So, how do you arrange indoor plants? I am going to share with you eight tips and a multitude of tricks to help you arrange your indoor plants to suit both the beauty of your home and your health. 

Six Tips to Arrange Indoor Plants

As promised, here is a brief outline of what we will learn together in this article. 

  1. Arranging an indoor plant wall
  2. Arranging oversized indoor plants to compliment large areas
  3. Arranging groups of small indoor potted plants within and without the same pot
  4. Using different colored and shaped planters to add more visual interest
  5. Arranging small indoor plants in small versus a large room
  6. Using unusual yet visually pleasing planters in your arrangement

With each arrangement I will also invite you to consider:

  • Where you can display your new arrangement
  • What plants are perfect for each arrangement
  • And how to use various planters to give appealing interest to your arrangements

By the time you finish reading this piece, you will be able to arrange your indoor plants in a pleasing manner. 

1.   Arranging an indoor plant wall

Many think that indoor plants should sit on the floor or on a tabletop to look great in a space. Nothing is farther from the truth as an indoor plant wall is a beautiful alternative to enhance any space.  

There are several diverse ways to arrange indoor plant walls, we are going to examine three; 

  1. Simple arrangements using wall fasteners
  2. Utilizing a non-self-watering pocket hanger
  3. Using a self-watering pocket hanger

One, Simple arrangement using picture hangers. The easiest way to arrange an indoor plant wall is to use picture hangers fastening one or a series of plants to the wall. By choosing various species of small indoor plants in assorted colors and textures you create visual interest without spending much time out of your busy life. 

Small plants such as air ferns, that literally need no watering, with Anthuriums adorned with their small bright red flowers add a pop of color to your space. 

First, plant a small plant into a lightweight plastic pot or plastic cup and attach a picture hanger to the back of the pot. Then hang the plant onto the wall you have chosen. Do so with as many plants as you wish, arranging them by shape, texture, and color. 

This type of indoor plant wall arrangement is marvelous for growing herbs. 

Two, Utilize a non-self-watering pocket hanger. Indoor plant pocket hangers are as the name suggests, a group of attached, plastic pockets designed to hold plants. They come in a variety of arrangements from having seven up to thirty-six pockets in rows.

Simply fill the pockets with potting soil, add your small plant, and then mount the non-self-watering pocket hanger to the wall. 

There are a variety of plants to choose from that would look lovely arranged on a wall. One is the Lipstick plant with its cascading shiny green leaves with burgundy underneath and another is the Rabbit’s food fern that has fuzzy feet sticking out from its base. 

Here’s an important tip for both of the above arrangements: Be certain to place your arrangement low enough on the wall where it is within easy reach for watering. 

Three, Using a self-watering pocket hanger. Self-watering pocket hangers give the ease of not needing to climb on a stool to water your plants, plus adds to the number and types of plants you can grow. For instance, you can grow:

  • Vining vegetables
  • Strawberries
  • Flowers
  • Any type of vining houseplants

You can arrange indoor plants in neat rows upon your wall. It is also true that you can hang several pocket hangers together to make a statement by covering an entire wall.

Here’s a tip about using a self-watering system such as this one found on Amazon.com: While this model and those similar to it offer a dripping system you may want to consider having a professional install an irrigation system instead to protect from leaks.

2.   Arranging Oversized Indoor Plants to Compliment Large Areas

Larger homes or office spaces seem to have an endless number of empty or out of place areas. What better way to fill these voids than to add a nice tall indoor plant? These plants range from very tall to knee-high and vary in their needs and maintenance. 

We shall examine four options of indoor plants and how to arrange them including: 

  1. The Tree Philodendron
  2. The Kentia Palm
  3. The Braided Ficus Tree
  4. The Bamboo 

No matter which arrangement you choose, decorating your home on either a wall or side table will enhance the beauty of your home, dorm, or office.  

The Tree Philodendron 

The Philodendron is the largest cousin in philodendron family and the easiest plant on this list to care for. 

Tree philodendrons do not require much water, but you shouldn’t allow the soil to completely dry out. 

These plants require indirect sunlight to thrive and make marvelous house plants in areas such as foyers that do not receive much light. 

Kentia Palms 

Kentia palmsare native to Australia and one of the hardiest houseplants. Because of its ease of maintenance, many offices spaces and stores use them to their fill empty spaces. 

The best place to place a Kentia palm is in any void in your home, store, or office where it can receive adequate light. These spaces include: 

  • Foyers
  • Waiting rooms
  • Restrooms with a good light source
  • Any void that lacks visual interest 

The Kentia palm requires slightly moist soil in summer and reduced watering in winter to allow it to grow properly.

Braided Ficus Trees

Ficus Trees are in the family of:

  • Rubber trees
  • Fiddle leaf figs
  • Weeping figs

They can grow to amazing heights and can live to a thousand years. These plants would fill any moderate-sized space and awe visitors with their braided trunks and lovely foliage. 

When moderately tall, these indoor plants do well when you are attempting to dress up a window or in a sun-drenched entryway.    

Braided Ficus Trees require more maintenance than most indoor plants to stay healthy and looking perfect. 

The Braided Ficus Tree requires:

  • Watering every four to seven days, allowing the water to seep to the bottom of the pot and never allowing the soil to dry out.
  • Fertilizing once a month with a general-purpose fertilizer but only during the times when the braided Ficus tree is actively growing.
  • They require bright, indirect sunlight for six hours a day and turning to keep the growth even all around.

Bamboo

Bamboois the hardest to maintain of the indoor plants on our list. Bamboo can only tolerate bright, constant sunlight and a warm, moist environment. 

Bamboo comes in a variety of species with some being tall and wispy and others being short and strikingly beautiful.  

The best place to arrange a bamboo plant would be in an atrium or other areas where moisture and light are available in abundance.

3.   Arranging Groups of Small Indoor Plants Within and Without the Same Pot

There are two basic ways you can arrange groups of small indoor plants to reach the best mixture of color and texture; arranging houseplants in clusters within the same pot and in their own pots. 

Arranging groups of small houseplants together in clusters within the same potis one way to display beautiful designs. Choosing colorful plants that complement each other is vital to creating a visually pleasing indoor plant arrangement. 

First, decide on a theme for your arrangement. Do you want a bright and bold statement? Indoor plants come in a variety of colored foliage like the watermelon pilea plant that’s in the nettle family and has dark green oval leaves with four raised silvery patches. Mixed with emerald ripple peperomia with its corrugated heart-shaped deep burgundy colored leaves, the combination would be gorgeous. 

Tip: You must be careful, as not all plants play well with each other. For instance, you cannot pot a cactus and a fern together because one does not desire much water while the other needs constant watering.  

Displaying small indoor plants in different pots avoids the problem of unique needs in watering and fertilization and gives you a wider variety of combinations of texture and color. 

It becomes possible to showcase a cactus needing little water alongside succulents such as a panda plant with its little white hairs giving it a fuzzy look that loves dry, winter air and a zebra plant with is striking horizontal stripes that require a moderate amount of sunlight and water.  

4.   Using Different Colored and Shaped Planters to Add More Visual Interest

Arranging indoor plants means more than just choosing the right size or color of plants, it also involves deciding upon the shape and color of the planters. 

Planters come in all colors and sizes ranging from as small as 1” in diameter to large enough to hold a large fern. To determine the size of the pot you choose you must first understand how large your plant will become. Another consideration is how much drainage your plant needs. 

Come pots and planters have larger drainage holes in the bottom than others or sit inside a saucer with holes around the base of the pot. 

Planters come in all shapes as well including oval, round, square, bulbous, any shape your heart can desire. When choosing a shaped pot, it is important to think ahead at what your plant will look like. Will it be all green or have small flowers; each needs a complementary colored and shaped pot to make it stand out in the room. 

5.   Arranging Indoor Plants in a Small Versus a Large Room       

We have already discussed how arranging indoor plants in a large room can augment large spaces. Now let us examine arranging indoor plants in small spaces such as dorm rooms, loft apartments, or office spaces.

Dorm Rooms or Loft Apartmentsare notorious for being small areas, yet a few indoor plants placed strategically can brighten and freshen the space. Some wonderful choices for plants to live in a dorm or loft apartment are:

  • Aloe Vera: This succulent is not only lovely but useful as all you need to do is break off a stem and squeeze its content onto a mild burn or bite to end burning and itching. Aloe Vera is also a hardy plant that can be planted in any small containers displayed on a desk or end table and need little maintenance. 
  • Other Lovely Succulents: Plants such as the ghost plant and barrel cactus are beautiful plants needing little care. Succulents come in all colors, shapes, and sizes making them ideal for placement in tiny containers such as mason jars that can be hung on the wall. 
  • Spider Plants: This plantwill grow in long draping white and green fronds spreading out from a centralized base. It too requires little maintenance and grows well in hanging pots. They do well hung in the corner of a dorm room, office, or loft space.
  • Air Ferns: These plants, made up of many smaller plants, not just one, will grow anywhere there is enough sunlight. They require no watering, drawing their water from the air. You can display them in tiny containers hung on the wall or in a small pot on a desk or side table. They are ideal for dorm rooms or loft apartments.

Office spacesare typically small areas where you might spend eight to twelve hours of your day, so it is important to personalize them. There is no better way to do so than with a few strategically placed plants. 

See below for a few perfect plants for your office space:

  • Peace Liliesare lovely plants with wide, broad, and deep green leaves sporting small white flowers. These plants can grow in darker areas and add interest and beauty to any office space when displayed on a desk or tabletop.
  • Philodendronsare a hardy and well-established backbone plant from South America that are ideal for office spaces. The leaves are a glossy green and grow well in low humidity cool spaces and need little maintenance.
  • Bromeliadsrequire a bit more caretaking to get them to bloom, but after they do, they will continue to do so with little care. The blooms of this plant are varied in bright colors and add beauty to any office space when displayed on a desk or window ledge.  

6.   Using Unusual Yet Visually Pleasing Planters for Your Arrangement

There are many directions one can take when displaying plants and some of them are quite unusual. Yet, by using quirky arrangements your plants add beauty, texture, and convenience to any sized space.

Here are some suggestions from Amazon.com for unusual hanging arrangements for your home. 

  • Displaying potted a mixture of different species and sized plants on floating shelves.  (Amazon Link)
  • Using ceramicor plasticplanters to hang on the wall in various arrangements. 
  • Glass bulb terrariumsare a beautiful tool to not just beautify a room but also to decrease the amount of time you need to spend watering your plants. (Amazon Link)
  • That old jewelry box in your closet 
  • the outdated piano bench in your garage
  • An old used dresser      

Unusual vessels for indoor plant arrangements include any container that can be made watertight, have drain holes bored into its bottom and be sturdy enough to take the weight of the plant, soil, and water.

The Pros and Cons of Displaying Indoor Plants

As with any decorating idea, displaying arrangements of indoor plants has its pros and cons. Let us examine together both sides of the coin so you can make the decision whether having indoor plants arranged in your home or office is right for you.  

The Pros. 

  • Most indoor plants require little care and offer beauty to any space
  • Indoor plant arrangements give rise to conversation
  • Indoor plant arrangements in your office or dorm bring in a touch of home
  • All plants release oxygen in exchange for the carbon dioxide humans exhale
  • Plants grown indoors will help cleanse the air of offensive odors  
  • Indoor plants humidify normally dry spaces such as an office

One important note: Not having plants in your home or workspace, according to the Lung Institute, can lead to any of the following problems:

  • Increase the risk of stroke by 34%
  • Increase the risk of ischemic heart disease by 26%
  • Increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD by 22%
  • Increase respiratory infections in children by 12%
  • Increase the risk of developing lung cancer by 6%

Source:The Arbours.org

The Cons.

  • You need to be knowledgeable about what plants will work best in your space
  • Indoor arrangements, like all plants, require enough sunlight or they will die 
  • Some indoor plants have special watering needs
  • Some plants require fertilization and other specialized care
  • Indoor plants can be messy if accidentally spilled onto the floor
  • Some apartment managers prefer tenants not to have plants due to damage from water

The Health Benefits of Indoor Plant Arrangements

The publication NASA Spinofftalks about a study conducted by  

an environmental scientist, Bill Wolverton, working with the United States military to clean up biological warfare centers the late 1960s. In his published study, Wolverton discusses his findings of using plants to improve air quality.  

Stemming from his work, Wolverton’s book “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home or Office.”Explains the benefits of having plants inside your home or office.  

In the book, Wolverton explains that house plants emit water vapor that pulls contaminated air into the plant’s root system where it is converted into plant food. The plant then releases freshened and moistened oxygen back into the atmosphere of the space increasing the health of their owners.

Tip: For further information on how plants purify air please refer to this informational video by Quarz.   

 

What Other Studies Have Found About The Health Benefits of Indoor Plant Arrangements 

There have been several other studies conducted to find other benefits to your health from having indoor plant arrangements in your home or office.A few of these other benefits besides cleaner air include:  

  1. Increase humidity aiding in keeping away sore throats and colds
  2. Reduce noise levels
  3. Highly therapeutic to those living with depression or anxiety

Let us examine each benefit and how they can affect your health.

  1. Increased humidity. The microclimate created around a plant adds humidity to the air cleaning it of dust and microorganisms that can irritate your senses and cause illness. Indeed, a study conducted by Washington State University found that 20% of dust particles, including microorganisms, were reduced by common house plants meaning:

30% less fatigue

25% less perception of pain

35% less coughing

20% less itchy eyes

20% less runny noses

20% less dry throats

20-60% less sick leave

Source: The Arbours.org

  • Reduce noise levels. Noise pollution in an office or dormitory setting is a problem for many and decreases people’s ability to concentrate. Noise pollution from crowded buildings full of loud music, numerous voices, nearby construction, or in the case of a dormitory, young people partying, have enormous implications. 

Unbeknownst to most of us, the consequences of noise pollution can be dire causing disturbed sleep and loss of attention paid to complicated tasks.

According to the online magazine Live Science, disturbed sleep has been found in numerous studies to increase your risk for heart disease and early death.

Less attention paid to complicated tasks, such as driving a forklift, or a car may result in lower productivity, injury, or accidental death.

How Many Indoor Plants and What Types are Recommended for Optimal Health Benefits?

The number of plants you have in your home, dorm room, or office may seem arbitrary, but it does matter if you wish to accomplish maximum health benefits.

To reduce fatigue and stress it is recommended you have at least one large plant sitting in an eight-inch pot or larger every 129 square feet. You need to arrange the plant(s) to gain an optimal view of it such as in or near a window.   

If your goal is air purification, then placing one large plant or two or more small plants every one hundred feet will bring you optimal results.

Even if you have only room for one plant, it will immediately go to work for you helping with your health while bringing you quiet and reassuring company.

Tip. The Lung Instituteoffers the following suggested plants for each room of your home.

  • Living room: Chinese Evergreens or an Areca Palm
  • Bedroom: Gerbera daisies, or Snake plants
  • Any other room: Money plants (Note: this plant is poisonous if consumed keep away from children and pets). 

Planting and Caring for an Indoor Garden

Working in the soil has long been known to be therapeutic and relaxing, but who has the time to spend planting and weeding a garden? Now you can plant an indoor garden and grow beautiful flowers and plants to enhance your life.

Choosing a Container

First, you must decide what size pot you would like and where you would like to display it. The larger your space the bigger your choice of pot or container should be. For example, a container with a diameter of no more than 8 inches works well on an end table while a container of 10-12 inches would look great on a dining room table.

The depth of your container also matters. For growing a tabletop garden, you need shallow containers and for large container gardens, you will need to buy containers several inches deep.

Remember that eventually, your plants will need to be repotted especially if you are not occasionally pruning back the growth. Choosing a large enough container can cut back on how often you will need to re-pot.

Tip: Remember to choose a container based on the space you are filling in your home. 

Choosing Plants for Indoor Gardens

Filling a container with indoor garden plants means choosing textures and colors that complement each other. You will need three varieties of plants;

  1. The centerpiece
  2. A filler that complements the centerpiece
  3. Plants to spill over the side for drama

By following this simple recipe, you can make an indoor garden that looks fabulous and will awe your guests. 

  1.  The centerpiece of your arrangement should be something brilliant and exotic such as a Mini-Orchid that offers a splash of color.
  •  A filler plant might consist of a moss that will help keep the soil moist and give a more cohesive look to the arrangement.

Other fillers may consist of:

  • Stones
  • Pebbles 
  • Marbles
  • Coconut mulch
  • Living mulch
  •  You might like to choose Devil’s Ivy with its beautiful vining leaves to add pizazz to any arrangement to dangle below your arrangement. 

The plants you choose for your indoor garden depend largely upon the size and brightness of the space you have chosen. 

For low-light areas, such as a tabletop or counter, you can choose a Peace Lily surrounded by moss with a philodendron spilling over the side.

For bright spaces, such as windowsills, you might choose a fiddleleaf fig for your centerpiece and surround it with sapphire Suzanne Chinese evergreens, with a spider plant hanging below.

Tip: It is important to remove dead leaves and to watch for your plants becoming pot-bound and need repotting.

No matter where in your home you display indoor plants, by arranging and choosing them well you can not only beautify your home but increase your health and well-being at the same time.  

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