Summer is practically on our doorstep – and it won’t be long before the windows are open and we’re dining al fresco in (quite literally) every given moment.

 

But for those chilly days, when we’re less inclined to crack out the barbecue – because, let’s face it, we live in the UK – it’s comforting to know we can easily bring the outdoors in. When your pops of colour just aren’t cutting the mustard, potted plants present the perfect way to accessorise a room.

 

Whether dotting succulents across shelves or going for gold with a wall of green, there’s a plant for every style of room. Just make sure it’s a match made in heaven – the last thing you want is a rogue hallway jungle your guests get tangled up in every time they visit.

 

So, here are our seven tips for reviving a tired room and masterfully moulding your dream green scheme:

Number 1: Trailing plants at the height of interior fashion

First of all, when space is tight (London-dwellers, we’re talking to you), build upwards. Tall furniture allows you to optimise small areas, providing ample storage, while providing the perfect platform from which plant life can shine.

Place these atop shelving units or elongated cabinets:

 

Senecio rowleyanus – a.k.a. the String of Pearls

The distinctive, bead-like leaves of the senecio create a little piece of natural art when they cascade down from leaning ladder shelving. It’s an easy plant to care for, as dry periods do little to no damage – so kiss goodbye to last-minute panics when you go away for a long weekend.

Tillandsia usenoides – a.k.a. Spanish Moss or Tree Hair

Lacking the ‘pristine’ look of so many other house plants, this trailer’s dishevelled-looking leaves make it truly unique. Spanish Moss prefers bright, filtered light – so a beautiful cabinet by a window would make the ideal home for your new green friend.


Number 2: Bye-bye, book ends: using succulents as separators

The rise of the succulent took every indie shop and café by storm – and it’s here to stay. So, we’re refreshing the look by dotting them across bookshelves in stone pots to replace our 90s’ book ends. They’ll keep your literature steady and bring Central American warmth into the home.

Here are the best boys for the job:

Crassula marnierana – a.k.a. Jade Necklace or Chinese Pagoda

With curved stems and stacked leaves, this succulent resembles a group of caterpillars. Their instinct to trail down and move around makes them a perfect shelf plant – they’ll make themselves at home, weaving around your trinkets.

Graptopetalum magdougallii

The rosette-shaped centrepiece of this Mexican succulent is such a crowd-pleaser. Bringing a fresh geometry to stacks of rectangular books, it’s a decorative plant with serious longevity – and a gorgeous blue-green hue.


Number 3: Nobody puts baby in the corner. But why not?

Trying (in vain) to make use of an odd-shaped corner? We love the idea of filling the void with greenery – think eye-catching leaves with a mind of their own, or a compact character who stands strong in even the harshest of climes.

Take these, for example:

Monstera deliciosa – a.k.a. Swiss Cheese plant

A social media favourite and a staple of Scandinavia’s stylish homes, the monstera is the go-to for transforming a dark corner into the focal point of your room – in part due to its attention-grabbing leaves and wayward branches, and in part because its extreme appetite for growth!

Aspidistra – a.k.a. Cast-iron plant

No matter how gloomy the space, the Aspidistra will survive. It can’t stand direct sunlight, so your dark and dusty corner is its preferred spot. It’s a hardy plant, ideal for the amateur horticulturalist (i.e. us).


Number 4: Bohemian, decorative and Instagram’s favourite: the hanging garden

When the boho beach bars of Tulum seem far away, a hanging garden is a real thirst-quencher for the style-parched home. And while you may not completely mimic the likes of Babylon, a macramé hanging planter from the ceiling isn’t far off.

 

 

But which plants to hang?

Ceropegia woodii – a.k.a. String of Hearts or the Rosary Vine

For the romantically inclined, a waterfall of variegated, heart-shaped leaves. This trailing plant grows fast – so you’ll never lose patience. Try tie-dying your macramé beforehand – a pop of yellow or orange will give it added life and an earthy, summery feel. Just don’t overwater!

Hoya linearis – a.k.a. wax flower or porcelain flower

The thin, linear (hence the name) leaves of the wax flower plant make a graphic contribution to balance out any more ‘flowery’ plants, working harmoniously with the geometric shapes often found on hangers. We bet you’ll get a few compliments.


Number 5: The perks of being – and owning – a wallflower: turning plants into wall art

There are so many ways you can transform a wall using plants as art. Assembling a geometric wall hanging for small plants to sit in or climbers to cling to, and transforming an archway with ivy are two of our favourites.

Make your vertical garden with these:

Epipremnum aureum – a.k.a Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos

The Devil’s Ivy is your go-to feature for dressing up a dull wall. It’s not only an easy climber, but it’s resistant to insect infections, doesn’t dull with lack of sunlight, grows healthily with or without soil AND is recommended by NASA for its air-purifying qualities. And, if that wasn’t enough, it brings a sought-after wild look to any room, without being unruly.

Ficus pumila – a.k.a. Climbing Fig

It’s in the name – this plant is a climbing sensation. Eagerly spreading across your space, they’re easy to manipulate and can put up with a bit of a chill without complaining too much – perfect for the British summer, then. Once your ficus establishes strong branches, try hanging shiny paper decorations from them – give Christmas a makeover.


Number 6: Ornamental beauty: your coffee table centrepiece

With the Marie Kondo craze taking firm hold, you may find that your coffee table is no longer the clutter fest it once was (phew). All this spare space is waiting for some colour. These medium-sized stars are big enough to catch your guests’ eye as soon as they enter, but not so obtrusive that they block your Netflix line of vision.

Pilea peperomiodies – a.k.a. Chinese money plant

A characterful plant, native to just two provinces in China. With glossy, circular leaves which propagate at the speed of light – blink and you’ll miss it – this plant is more coffee table-worthy than, well, coffee.

Nephrolepis exaltata – a.k.a. Sword fern or Boston fern

When it’s small, the Boston fern is the perfect accessory to accompany your coffee table books – and your lazy Sunday afternoons. When it’s big, it’s really big – so save one of those dark corners! Keep it humid and watch the compliments fly in.

 


Number 7: Features of the fireplace 

And we couldn’t leave you without a cactus – or ten. Our star tip for jazzing up a mantelpiece? As well as our favourite – Aztec-style wall hangings – we also place our bets on a series of small cacti in colourful pots. Choose cacti of different heights and arrange them in order of size for a sharp talking point.

Echinocactus grusonii – a.k.a. Golden Barrel cactus

Another Mexican delight, this cactus is actually endangered when in the wild. So best domesticate it quickly, and pop a few of them over the mantelpiece to complement a painting, wall hanging or wide mirror.

Cereus

Grow your own fairy-tale castle from the living room – the cereus has columns which look like castle turrets of all heights. It’s the stereotypical cactus depicted in all cartoons, and the reason why? It’s simply wonderful.

If you have pets, please check the toxicity of all plants before buying. Sadly, some of the most beautiful greenery isn’t suitable for all animals.