Ask a Palmers Expert: Miriam’s Tips on Styling with Plants

Plants add instant style and grace to living spaces, both indoors and out. Indoor plant specialist, Miriam Manley of Palmers welcome bay offers some timely advice.

How do you go about grouping and displaying indoor plants?

There are a few things to consider. Think about the size of the space you are looking to style, the
ambience you are trying to create and environmental conditions such as light and temperature.
When creating a group of indoor plants I play around with height, structure and form. The combinations
of size, form and colour are endless and it is exciting to experiment with new and interesting groupings.
I like to mix contrasting foliage together. For example a tall, structural Sansevieria contrasts well with the bold round leaves of a Calathea, which then sets the backdrop for the delicate, airy maidenhair fern. Grouping plants in odd numbers also looks pleasing to the eye. I also like to have at least one large statement plant to set the style and mood of the room. Large grade specimens often have enough presence to comfortably stand alone.

How do you display houseplants if you’re short on space?

Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you have to use small plants. Often, one or two large specimens can really enhance a small space and make it seem larger, rather than cluttering it with lots of little plants in pots. I love the bamboo palms for this effect. They not only elicit a lush tropical feel, but have height without much width, which makes them an excellent choice for smaller spaces. Shelves and the tops of bookcases also make great spots for plants. A group of hanging plants can really enhance a small room while still leaving plenty of floor space.

What do you look for when choosing pots for your indoor plants?

I think about the room that the pot and plant will be going in and choose a pot that will complement
the style and decor of that room. When grouping indoor plants together I like to combine different
styles and textures. For example, baskets and woven pots mixed with ceramic can look interesting and
stylish. Cover pots are an economical way of injecting your own style and personality into a space. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cover pots in different colours and styles. A cover pot should complement
the plant going inside it. There are plenty of attractive options available. Re-purposed vintage baskets,
ketes and ceramic pieces can make really interesting cover pots.

What plants would you suggest for a Christmas dining table?

You can’t go past the classic poinsettia in a beautiful cover pot. For something a little different try the beautifully coloured Aglaonemas, Begonia rex varieties and stunning Phalaenopsis orchids.

What are some top plants for rooms with low light?

There are several indoor plants that are really well adapted to low light conditions. Some of my easy care favourites are Sansevieria (mother-in-law’s tongue), Zanzibar Gem, Rhipsalis (mistletoe cactus) Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’, spider plant, ferns and Aspidistra.

What plants would you suggest to add drama and ambiance to a living room?

This is where it’s worth investing in a mature indoor plant for immediate impact and drama.
Placing your specimen in a beautiful large pot will adds extra ambience. These pots don’t necessarily have to be indoor pots. There are some beautiful outdoor pots that can look stunning in an indoor space.
Some fantastic plant choices for that immediate impact are the multi trunked golden cane palm (Dypsis
lutesens) , kentia palm (Howea forsteriana), fiddle leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) and other Ficus species.

What plants would you suggest for a bathroom?

Bathrooms often have quite significant fluctuations in light, humidity and temperature throughout any given day. I like to use robust indoor plants such as Boston ferns, Epipremnum (pothos) and Aspidistra (cast iron plant) to create a lush green space.

What are your favourite little plants to suit a bedroom dresser or bedside table?

I like the colourful Fittonia, African violets and, for a brightly lit situation there are endless options
in the cacti and succulent family.

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