Fill your home with life, thanks to potted plants

  • By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press
  • Tuesday, April 23, 2013 4:38pm
  • Life

Warm weather and the first buds of spring have been slow to arrive in much of the country. But even if your garden has yet to grow, you can add beauty, fragrance and a sense of springtime to your home by decorating with lush plants and potted trees.

“Designer spaces pretty much always include some element of life,” said interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of decordemon.com. “The most common way to add life is with potted plants and trees.”

We’ve asked Flynn, California-based interior designer Molly Luetkemeyer and Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design in Los Angeles for advice on choosing the right plants, potting them perfectly and keeping them blooming with minimal effort.

Where to start?

“Talking to someone at a nursery is a really good idea,” said Burnham, because employees at garden stores and plant nurseries are usually glad to answer questions about choosing and caring for plants.

You can choose plants based on the spot in your home where you’d like to keep them (sundrenched windowsills, shady corners). Or you can select a plant you love and then ask for advice on where to put it.

“I’m only interested in plants and trees that are low-maintenance,” Flynn said. “Give me something that requires daily care and/or delicate grooming, and it’s most likely to go from green to brown or black in less than 72 hours.”

Fabulous ferns

All three designers like ferns, such as the maidenhair. “They’re so delicate and soft,” Luetkemeyer said. “and they’re that pale green that’s the beginning green of spring.”

Maidenhairs are fairly easy to care for: “They need to be watered,” she said, “but if you water them, they hang around.”

If you want something larger and bolder than the delicate maidenhair, Flynn suggests the staghorn fern. Just remember that all ferns do best in shade rather than direct sunlight.

Flowering plants

Luetkemeyer recommends daffodils, narcissus and hyacinth. She also loves gardenia plants for their heady fragrance and shiny leaves. But they do require a bit of effort.

“Any plant that’s a woody plant, with a wood that’s exposed, is going to be a little bit trickier,” she said. Consider researching gardenias online to learn how much water and how much light your plant will need.

Potted trees

“A statement tree,” said Burnham, “adds height to your room, and plays with the light at a window.”

Flynn suggests fig trees: “Fiddle leaf fig trees are, hands down, my favorite,” he said. “They’re super architectural and almost kind of minimalist. Since these grow straight upwards, they’re perfect for corners or flanking a fireplace or focal point without growing out and over it.

“The key to using them successfully is ensuring they don’t come into contact with direct light, and that they’re not exposed to dry heat,” Flynn said.

Countertop herbs

Many grocery stores and nurseries sell herb plants such as mint or basil that are already blooming in small plastic pots. You can repot them into more attractive containers, then cluster several together on a countertop.

Perfect potting

“What you plant something in makes just as much of a statement as the tree or plant itself,” Burnham said.

One simple approach is to “put the plant into a fabulous low basket and cover it with reindeer moss,” Burnham said. “You don’t see the soil, and don’t see the plastic container inside.”

Luetkemeyer agrees that it’s worth taking time to choose the right pots: “A pot is sort of like the frame on the piece of art. It sets the tone.”

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Most Read