Utah Style and Design

Bring a Touch of Green Indoors

February 20, 2017

Houseplants are back in style, breathing life, fabulous form and natural beauty to interiors across Utah. Use these tips to help them do the same to yours.

1. STAGE A STILL LIFE
A globe-like terrarium, a wall-mounted planter or a shallow open bowl all invite you to create a unique assembly of mixed plants that will perform as a single statement of style. Choose plants that add texture, color and unique form to your décor, just as would a special accessory. Here, a shell-shaped bowl holding a diverse mix of succulents becomes a focal point in a sleek, contemporary kitchen. Design by Studio McGee.

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Photo Courtesy of Studio McGee

2. GO BIG
Err on the side of too big when selecting a houseplant meant to inhabit a large room or to provide substantial presence in a décor. Too-small or disproportionate plants are underwhelming. Think ahead, suggests Clint Lewis, owner of Orchid Dynasty. “Plants are living sculptures, so you need to consider how they will grow over time—their sizes, leaves, textures and colors can all change.” Here, the large scale and green leathery leaves of a tall, fiddle leaf fig make a big impact played against the dark walls of a high-ceilinged room. Design by Studio McGee, SLC.

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Photographed by Lindsey Salazar

3. GIVE IT A BOOST
When propped on a plant stand, set on a side table or even rooted in a tall footed pot, smaller plants can be lifted from obscurity. Raised bases give plants height, making them as prominent as many larger specimens. “Get a plant off the ground and its interest level immediately rises,” says Lewis. Here, a stump table performs as a stage for a small, handsomely potted plant. Design by Studio McGee, SLC. 

Photographed by: Becky Kimball

Photographed by Becky Kimball

4. FORGO CUT FLOWERS
Nothing perks up a room like fresh flowers, but bouquets are short-lived. For something more permanent, consider a flowering houseplant. Simple choices include begonias, kalanchoes, cyclamen and African violets. More sophisticated options include orchids, bromeliads and succulents. Here, a tropical bromeliad delivers a long-lasting show of red to a sleek SLC bathroom. Design by Kathryn Anderson.

Photographed by Scot Zimmerman

Photographed by Scot Zimmerman

5. LIVE FOR THE MOMENT
If a fear of commitment keeps you from hosting a plant, think of it as a transient house guest, a short-term accessory, suggests Lewis. Love that flowering succulent in the store? Find it a stylish pot and move it around the house: prop it on the windowsill, stage it in your shelves, place it on your nightstand. Once it has lost its luster, toss it and replace with a fresh specimen. “You don’t have to name your plant and keep it forever,” says Cory Cumming, plant buyer with Cactus & Tropicals. “It’s OK to toss Mildred when you’re tired of her,” he jests.  No fuss, no guilt. Placed in a shimmering gold pot, this small leafy plant enlivens the corner of a desk and can be moved around the house with ease. Design by Studio McGee, SLC.

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Photographed by Lindsay Salazar

6. HEAD TO YOUR CORNER
Few things fill a bare corner as naturally as a houseplant. It provides volume, color and sculptural form without adding clutter of the bulk of a light-blocking piece of furniture. Don’t crowd the corner with a massive plant that prohibits movement, and avoid a species unsuited to the corner’s lighting. In Salt Lake, this fiddle leaf fig adds life to a dining room corner and thrives in its bright, filtered light.

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Photographed by Scot Zimmerman

7. PICK THE POT FIRST
“A pot is to a plant as a frame is to a painting,” says Lewis, who believes the color, texture, pattern and shape of a pot can and should complement those of the plant. He advises picking a pot that decoratively fits a décor before selecting its plant. “If a pot is plain, consider a variegated or patterned plant,” Lewis suggests, “and if the pot is patterned, select a simpler, plainer plant.” Lewis also favors a “one-third—two-third rule.” “In general, a plant should be twice as tall as its pot, or a pot twice as tall as its plant.” Here, two geometrically shaped pots are dramatically planted with a tall orchid and cactus. Plants by Orchid Dynasty, SLC.

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Photographed by Scot Zimmerman

8. DRY OUT
If you constantly forget to water your plants, choose less-thirsty specimens. There are plenty of showy houseplants that thrive on less H20: Succulents, snake plants, cacti, ZZ plants, sago palms, air plants and even orchids are all showy, low-water options. In a Park City home, a glass trough showcases a row of tillandsia (aka air plants) that require no soil and only infrequent watering. Plants by Orchid Dynasty, SLC.

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Photographed by Scot Zimmerman

Written by: Brad Mee

Andrea Peterson

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