These 8 Genius Tips Come From Real-life Plant Stylists

You know where the sunlight leaks into your home at practically every hour of the day, and you keep a color-coded Google calendar that should help you water your indoor jungle, which should also win awards for its beauty. You’re pretty much going to win plant parent of the year, aren’t you? 

We’re not quite there yet. There is another aspect of taking care of your greenies you might be overlooking: styling. There are plant stylists, too, just like there are food stylists and interior designers, and they work to not only assess your home in order to identify and enhance the best growing conditions but to set up your plants in such a way that makes them aesthetically stunning success stories. 

Would you like to pick their brains? That’s why we asked six experts to share their insider tips and tricks for making houseplants happy, harmonious, and beautiful. It’s time to take notes, so grab a pen.

It is important to note that any plants mentioned in this story or any others may be toxic to pets or humans. “Toxic” plants may cause mild and severe symptoms (upset stomach) or even death. You should research any plants you plan to use around your cat, dog, or child on a reputable site like ASPCA.org, PetPoisonHelpline.org, Poison.org, or by consulting your pediatrician or veterinarian. 

1. Take advantage of the cachepot

You may not want to display your pretty pothos in the flimsy, plastic pot it came in. However, don’t dispose of that vessel in the recycling bin just yet, suggests Danae Horst, founder of Folia Collective and author of “Houseplants for All.”

A cachepot refers to keeping a plant in the plastic grower pot it comes in, and then placing it inside a decorative pot, explains Horst. I prefer to keep plants in this way. Most decorative pots aren’t designed with plants in mind and don’t have drainage holes, which are vital for maintaining a healthy plant and avoiding the risk of accidentally giving the plant more water than it can handle. Using the cachepot system, you simply remove the grower pot when you need to water it, let it drain, and then place it back in the decorative pot.

Likewise, plant coach and Instagrammer Nick Cutsumpas believes throwing away plastic nursery pots is the least sustainable choice. 

For smaller nursery pots, Cutsumpas uses them for germination or cuttings that she gives away to friends. Even cutting up a canvas bag and gluing it to the outside of the nursery pot will make it look more modern.”  

2. Greens Mix and Match

Horst says when choosing which plants to introduce to your home, you should consider the visual blend of plants, making sure the shapes and sizes complement each other and don’t feel too one-dimensional.

According to Horst, plant styling is all about the mix. The most dynamic plant shelfie can be achieved by combining scale, shape, height, and color.” She recommends pairing tall, sculptural styles (such as snake plants) with soft, vining varieties (such as heart leaf philodendron) to generate an intriguing arrangement. 

Tylor Rogers, plant stylist and co-owner of Arium Botanicals, suggests choosing plants that grow in different directions when grouping them. “Pair an upright plant with something low and bushy to create a visually appealing display. It will make your collection look and feel more natural.

3. Level Up

In addition to how you combine your plants in your home, you should be mindful of where you place them in relation to each other as well. The secret? Keeping your plants at different levels.

Plants should be placed at different heights around your home, according to Rogers. A collection of plants displayed on a table will make it look less cluttered and will provide a visually attractive display.” 

Lisa Munoz, founder of Leaf and June and stylist, notes that plant stands can keep your plants off the ground for more variety in height and also help them become closer to a window. Consider putting plants on unexpected items such as chairs, stools, benches, or stacks of books. Make sure you protect them from moisture with a cork platter underneath.

4. Vertical Growth

If you love plants but your house is too small, it might be hard to accommodate them. The walls and ceiling are also ideal places to grow plants, as most stylists suggest. 

Munoz says that hanging plants can be very useful if you have limited space. It will be easier for you to keep your eye on different details if you add variety and a different level to your home. They can also serve as natural curtains for your windows. Adding textured and visual interest to a space can be achieved with trailing plants.

You can even look beyond the ceiling itself, says Laura Jenkins, Ph.D., founder of Houseplanthouse. If you have curtain poles, picture rails, and beams in your home, consider hanging plants from them. If you have any hanging plants, be sure to secure them securely and keep them out of reach of little prying hands, curious pets, and anyone else who could get injured by pulling on them. 

5. Aim for an Overall Vibe

You might have guessed it, but from a styling point of view, your choice of pots is equally important as the plants you choose. An interesting container can make even the most basic fern stand out, but putting together the right scene is all about balance. 

Horst recommends selecting a pot that does not compete with a very striking plant as an individual plant. Many plants with patterned leaves look best in solid-colored pots, while plants with a very sculptural shape usually need a simple pot.

Basically, you should not let every pot try to take center stage, Horst advises. Blend vintage or handmade pots in striking shapes, textures, or colors with a more simple style when grouping plants. Keep things simple by choosing one or two colors and collecting pots in different sizes, shapes, and textures within those colors.

6. Top ’Em Off

It’s practically a given that you’ll get your hands dirty as a plant parent – both literally and metaphorically. It does not mean, however, that you should constantly see crumbling soil in your house just because you love tending to it. How do you fix it? You hide the mess with a few clever tricks.

Jenkins suggests covering pots with sphagnum moss or chunky bark to finish off the look of plants. What was originally an essential for moisture-loving houseplants like ferns has become a way for planters to add grace and finesse. You can’t help but notice the difference when you are staring at potting mix.” Plus, she says, extra dressing can help maintain moisture, reducing watering frequency and creating more humidity locally.

7. Add Extra Light

The best way to keep plants healthy and happy in your home environment is by selecting plants that thrive in it. We do not always have light-loving plants in our dwellings as much as we would like – especially in cases like those in a small, interior studio apartment or a windowless bedroom. Thankfully, you can boost the rays in your home too with some tips from plant stylists. 

My favorite plant styling hack is to bring additional light into a space by using mirrors, Jenkins says. They are especially useful for apartments with limited space. Mirrors naturally create depth in spaces, making them feel larger, but by strategically positioning them next to windows, they can also bring in more natural light. Your houseplants will benefit greatly from this extra illumination, which creates a diffuser, less directional light. 

Do you need more mirrors in your space than your walls can accommodate? Fortunately, you can also use your home’s existing lighting to your advantage when it comes to your plant collection. Artificial grow lights will be required for low-light areas in your house, but implementing these lights in a subtle way is key, says Cutsumpa. Growing where you have never grown before is possible by installing full-spectrum bulbs inside existing track lighting or other standing light fixtures. By doing this, you will unlock new plant possibilities that will go completely unnoticed.


8. Harness the Perks of Propagation

Plant propagation can ensure a year-round supply of new and established plants. Furthermore, this will ensure that you won’t totally break the bank on the hobby.) However, there’s more to the grow method than just a bounty of healthy plants. You can also add cuttings to your plant styling collection. 

Besides adding more fronds to my jungle, I enjoy propagating plants because cuttings make absolutely gorgeous pieces you can place in your home,” says Lindsay Wallstrum, stylist and owner of Leaf + Lolo. “They’re smaller than most full-grown plants, so you can really add them anywhere, from shelves to bathroom vanities or even as centerpieces on your dining table.

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