Making it Work: Large-Scale Greenery

Making it Work: Large-Scale Greenery

Susie Nadler
Jan 4, 2010

House plant fear is a common affliction; people who've had trouble caring for indoor plants often just avoid them. And large-scale plants, while not necessarily more difficult to maintain, can seem even more daunting. But if you can conquer the fear, a large-scale indoor plant can really breathe life into your home. Try these tips for oversized plant care.

• When choosing your large indoor plant or tree, think about the effect its natural form will have on the room overall. A dense plant with dark foliage, like the fig trees in Alexis Traina's gorgeous solarium (second photo, from Vogue), work beautifully in a big room with lots of light, but might feel too heavy in a smaller room with low ceilings, where a wispy palm or dracaena might be preferable.

• You can use a large-scale plant to fill a gap in a room that needs a little brightening. Empty corners behind chairs are great spots for oversized plants. The landing in a stairwell is another spot where a plant can do wonders. We use a palm alongside our front door to create a little entryway, since the door opens right into the living room.

• Remember, too, that oversized plants are difficult to move, so you will need to water them in place. Line your pot with a plastic saucer and set the pot on a circle of cork to protect your floor in case any water leaks through.

• As always with indoor plants, be careful not to over-water, in order to avoid buildup of water in the saucer. When buying your plant, ask your nursery for specific watering instructions, and before you water, always stick your finger in the soil. Your nursery can tell you if your plant needs to dry out completely between waterings, or if you should keep the soil a bit moist. After a few watering cycles, if you feel the soil each time, you'll get a sense of exactly how often your plant will need a drink.

• Ultimately, if you just can't seem to conquer the plant fear, you can always go with cut branches to achieve the effect of a large-scale plant. If you have a garden, save any branches pruned from your trees and stand them in oversized jars and vases (see first photo). Otherwise, try a florist; cut branches last a while, so they're a better investment than flowers.

Feel free to share your large-scale plant tips below!

(Images: Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, via I Suwannee; Vogue, via Flora Grubb Gardens; Design*Sponge; Marie Claire Maison, via Coco+Kelley; Apartment Therapy)

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