The Best Houseplants for Focal Points

Tiny containers look cute, but to create a statement, go for big, bold, sculptural plants in dramatic pots.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
  • Large Peace Lily Planted in Simple Container

    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.

  • Wipe Dust and Grime off of Indoor Plant Leaves

    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.

  • Blue Grass and Saturn Pair Together in Planter

    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.

  • Vriesea Colorful Bracts Last for Weeks

    Bromeliads

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

  • Japanese Sago Palm Makes Good House Plant

    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.

  • Isolepis and Senecio Rowleyanus Planted Together

    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.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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