The Best Houseplants for Focal Points

Tiny containers look cute, but to create a statement, go for big, bold, sculptural plants in dramatic pots.
From: DK Books - How to Grow

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Choosing a Statement Plant

Before buying a plant, think about where you would like to position it, and how much space you can afford. Plants with large dark leaves tend to prefer shade, while those with variegated foliage and palms enjoy more light.

Also consider how quickly your plant will grow. Some, such as the bamboo palm, stay the same size for many years, while vigorous plants, like the sentry palm, and Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa), can double their size in a couple of years, given the right conditions.

Placing Your Plant
Use your plant as a focal point to draw attention to an area of the room, or to provide a leafy contrast to the hard lines of cabinets and other furniture. Also, ensure the plant won't be an obstacle, and choose a pot that matches your decor.

The large glossy leaves and elegant white flowers of the peace lily are matched by this simple metal container. Choose a large variety for a big statement.

Cleaning the Leaves

Dust-covered foliage ruins the look of a plant and restricts the light reaching the leaves, inhibiting its growth. Use a damp soft cloth to wipe away grime and dirt, or place your plant in the shower and wash off the dust. Add a shine to large-leaved plants by wiping a little milk over the surfaces.

Architectural Combo

When choosing a plant to make a bold statement in your home, either opt for one single dramatic specimen, or select a few smaller ones that combine well to create more impact. Unusual shapes and textures draw the eye, too, and can make up for size in smaller homes. If you love bright colors, select plants with blowsy blooms, such as amaryllis, or fiery bracts, like bromeliads.

Perfect Partners
The shade-loving furry feather calathea (Calathea rufibarba) 'Blue Grass', and dumb cane (Dieffenbachia seguine) 'Saturn' make perfect partners in a large ceramic pot.

Bromeliads

These popular houseplants (shown here, Vriesea) have colorful bracts that last for many weeks.

Japanese Sago Palm

This excellent houseplant strikes a pose but grows very slowly, so buy one to fit your space, and position it in bright light — a sunroom is ideal.

Small Partners With Different Needs

Fiber-optic grass (Isolepis cernua) and string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) create a talking point when combined in a bowl on a stand. However, they need different conditions and are planted in separate pots: fiber-optic grass requires lots of water to thrive, while string of pearls prefers dryer conditions.