Mix and Match a Plant Display

Solitary small and medium-sized houseplants can look lost on a shelf or windowsill, but when grouped together on a tray, they form a lively display of contrasting colors, shapes and textures.
Tray Chic

Tray Chic

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

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Related To:

Time to Complete: 2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • tray
  • plastic sheet
  • pebbles
  • houseplant containers
  • Fatsia japonica
  • creeping fig, Ficus pumila
  • Peperomia caperata 'Luna Red'
  • mind-your-own-business, Soleirolia soleirolii
  • Streptocarpus 'Bethan'

Pot Up the Plants

Experiment with different-sized containers that fit into the tray, mixing tall and short ones, or even cups and saucers. For a sophisticated display, select pots of the same color. When you have the right grouping, buy plants that fit the pots, rather than vice versa.

Line the Tray

Line your tray with a plastic sheet (cut from an old compost bag, for example), covering the sides to create a 1/2-1-inch deep reservoir. Arrange the pots on the tray, and fill in around them with small pebbles. Fill the tray with water to just below the top of the plastic liner.

Alternative Effects

In addition to grouping containers, create displays by using different plants in one large pot, or repeating a single houseplant species throughout your home.

When using one large pot for a variety of plants, make sure that you combine those that enjoy the same conditions. Groups of ferns were very fashionable in Victorian times and are now de rigueur once more; these leafy shade-lovers look great in a large glass bowl or contrasting smooth white pots. You could also try large foliage plants, such as angel wings, Caladium, edged with delicate maidenhair ferns like Adiantum. For a hot, sunny windowsill or table, create succulent and cactus displays where natural desert conditions are easy to emulate

Mix a group of cacti of contrasting shapes and sizes in one container, and pack them together to create a desert display for a warm, sunny room (Image 1).

Plant up identical containers with the same plant, such as this textural fern, Nephrolepis exaltata, to create a chic, contemporary look (Image 2).

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