Beginner's Guide to Plant Styling

My two must-have decor items are books and plants. They make every house feel like a home by adding character, interest, and personality. Many people out there are down for the books, but not so sure about the plants. I get it. Maybe you don't have the greenest thumb, but take it from someone who used to know nothing about plants: With some patience and a watering can, you too can become a plant pro.


I'm going to share with you a few can't-kill-it-if-you-try houseplants that I have in my own home, how best to care for them, and my favorite ways to style them. Hopefully, I'll inspire you to pick up one of your own!


The Baby Rubber Plant

Light: Most everywhere you look online you'll see advice to keep these plants in bright indirect light. I can say, based on experience, that they can also do quite well in bright light as long as you're diligent with watering.

Care: Water when the soil gets dry. This plant works like a succulent, storing water in the leaves, so it's best to under-water instead of over-water. If you see leaves turning yellow, back off the watering can for a bit.

Growth: In bright light, they grow fast, and in dimmer light, it's a bit slower. Either way, this plant likes to drape, so if you like that look, great, but if not then just simply snip off longer pieces. You can let these cuttings sit out for a day or two and then plant directly into a pot with soil and voila, a new plant!

Styling: Due to their drapey nature, I like these for mantels, window sills, and hanging planters. The shiny, deep green leaves add depth and interest to any room.

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The Pothos

Light: They do just fine in everything from bright direct light to overhead florescent lighting which makes them a great choice for your office or that dark corner of your bedroom.

Care: Use a pot with a drainage hole to be sure the plant doesn't sit in water. Water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. If the leaves start to droop it is definitely time to hydrate!

Growth: Pothos grow as a vine which you can train to climb up or around things if you so choose. This also means it can get a bit leggy. If you don't want it to get too long then try propagating it. This is the method I've used with success.

Styling: Since it likes to climb and drape, this is a favorite for floating shelves or the edge of a dresser or side table. You can also use these in hanging planters. Since they don't mind being in the shadows, I love to add a pothos to a dark corner of a room to add a bit of organic interest.


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The Parlor Palm

Light: Parlor palms do best in indirect light which means they'll be happy in a bright room, but not in direct sunlight.

Care: Watering needs depend on the amount of light. If your palm gets lots of light, you might need to water once per week. If it's in a low-light situation, then once every two weeks might be best. Basically, wait until the soil is dry, then water. I've also found that if you forget to water it sometimes, it'll be just fine.

Growth: These guys get BIG. If you're looking for an easy-to-care-for tree then this is a great option. Keep in mind that it will grow much more slowly in dim light, so if it's going in a dark corner you may want to start with a plant that's closer to the size you want to end up with.

Styling: Since the parlor palm gets up to 6-feet tall, it is best used to anchor a room. Set one up in a corner behind an arm chair or sofa or use to balance a space with unique architectural features.


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The Rubber Tree

Light: This one is a little pickier. The rubber tree prefers indirect light and really doesn't do well in any kind of direct light.

Care: Be sure the soil is dry before watering. For mine, I find that to be every two weeks, but it depends on how humid your house is and the size of the pot.

Growth: Slow and steady wins the race. Rubber trees are not quick to put on new growth, but they will continue to grow steadily and can get up to 6-10 feet tall. If you're happy with the size of your plant then simply don't repot. A smaller pot will restrict growth.

Styling: This plant is happiest if you find a spot for him and leave him there. So, if you have a smaller plant, find a table that has some floor space nearby where you can place it once it's too big for a tabletop set up.


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The Air Plant

Light: Really any light works. However, you will need to alter your watering routine depending on where you choose to display these.

Care: As the name implies, they don't need any dirt which means they can float around pot free. Just simply spritz with water about once a week, or do as I do and run them under your kitchen faucet. Just be sure to let them dry for an hour or so upside down on a paper towel so you don't end up with any mold growth inside.

Growth: Since they don't get nutrients from dirt they do tend to be a slower to put on new growth. That said, they come in all shapes and sizes, so look for something that best fits your space.

Styling: These are the most fun to style because they can go anywhere. I like to tuck them in a centerpiece, sneak a few onto a bookcase, or nestle them on a coffee-table tray.


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Looking for more plant inspiration? Check out my plant Pinterest board!

Welcome!

Hi there! My name is Erin and I'm the owner of Erin Davis Design, an interior design firm founded in 2017. Here on my blog I serve up tips for creating a home that's functional, beautiful, and right on budget. I hope you'll cozy up on your sofa and stay awhile! Want to get to know me better? Check out my about page. If you're looking for personalized design help then head on over to my services page.

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