Five easy ways to make your décor pop with houseplants

Posted: February 12th, 2016 | Columns, Featured, Gardening, Lifestyle | No Comments

By Gary Jones

Are you stuck in the mindset that houseplants are only desk or table plants? That their job is just to add a bit of life to a room? Expand your houseplant horizons. They can be so much more than a sorry fern in a pot.

It is time to give plants a starring role. Today’s new tropicals deserve and demand attention. Bold, dramatic and colorful foliage is in and so is pottery in bright colors and patterned designs. Containers with interesting shapes and textures add fun to a houseplant’s new look.

Hedera Helix English Ivy can grow as a ground cover or in a pot. (Photos courtesy of Armstrong Garden Centers)

Hedera Helix English Ivy can grow as a ground cover or in a pot. (Photos courtesy of Armstrong Garden Centers)

There are several ways that houseplants can become important and exciting elements of your home’s décor. Try incorporating some or all of these into your design plan:

Enlarge the scale

Chamaedorea Florida Hybrid

Create some drama. Choose a bold plant like a fiddle-leaf fig and move in a large 6-foot version. Now you’ve got some visual excitement. Or flank your fireplace with two plants. Have the same fun with an oversized, 7-foot fishtail palm and let it take over that boring living room corner. The bigger and bolder, the better.

Use as color accents

Instead of utilizing throw pillows to add pops of color, why not use houseplants? The color can be the foliage itself or its bright, glazed pot. Instead of the plant being a receding green, let it be the object that energizes the room. It will be the thing your eye goes to first and the color that makes the rest of the room sing.

Put it on a pedestal

A potted plant on a pedestal suddenly becomes a statement, especially if the pedestal is architectural, stylish and bold. No pedestal on hand? Then choose a very tall, colorful, narrow pot. They’re extremely popular right now. Plunk a houseplant on top and you’ve got instant action whether the plant shoots upward or trails down. Here’s another trick — use a stack of books as a short plant pedestal, but be sure to use a saucer to catch any water.

Aglaonema Key Largo makes an excellent houseplant.

Aglaonema Key Largo makes an excellent houseplant.

Create some rhythm

If one houseplant is nice, why not place two or three exactly the same, right in a row? That will create rhythm. It is similar to two side chairs, a collection of vases on a table or a pair of lamps.

Design a skyline

Top interior designers make sure that rooms have an interesting skyline. This means there are interesting things happening at the higher levels of the room. It can be boring to have everything at seating height or at eye level. Houseplants are very useful for changing a room’s skyline. Step back and assess your room(s). They might need a skyscraper houseplant or two.

—Gary Jones is Chief Horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers, which has locations on Friars Road and Morena Boulevard. Email your drought and gardening questions to

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