Houseplants have been keeping a lot of us company during the pandemic, and the good news is there’s a plant for any home, big or small, well-lit or not.
There’s also a virtual jungle of stylish containers in which to show them off.
“I love incorporating plants into our interior spaces,” says designer Mel Bean of Tulsa, Okla., “both for the sense of life that they contribute, and for their help in improving indoor air quality. I prefer significantly sized plants in large containers rather than many small pots. It creates a dramatic impact while feeling sculptural rather than cluttered.”
Bean’s go-to shop is Bloomscape, which offers a range of simple pots, in muted hues, made of 80 percent recycled ocean plastic. There are handy wheeled saucers for larger plants, and bamboo stands that adjust to fit the pot.
Other great options in planters and stands:
Ideas for small spaces
Clever shapes, such as a smooth-sided planter that can serve as a bookend on a shelf, can solve limited-space issues.
“It’s unique, interesting, and an especially innovative idea for anyone who lives in an apartment or smaller space,” Better Homes & Gardens lifestyle editor Jennifer Aldrich wrote recently in the magazine.
A sea-green, hand-glazed finish on Holistic Habitat’s Pita bookend planters gives them an artisanal look. And Urban Outfitters’ pair of bookend vessels also serves a dual purpose; the terracotta glaze gives them a nice look on a shelf.
Miijmoj Design turns a cantilevered oak board into a bookend, and adds a cylinder vase, which can be filled with an air plant or single stem.
Pedestal planters literally and figuratively elevate your greenery.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Tortuga Living has collaborated with Farrah Sit, founder of Light + Ladder studio, on the Platform Vessel collection. The concrete and stone terrazzo bowls and planters in various sizes were inspired by Bauhaus architecture’s geometric forms, and can be used indoors or out.
Chen-Yen Wei and Hung-Ming Chen’s Story Planter, a series of rising containers, can be paired with their Story Bookshelf so plants and books are showcased together in a vertical stack with a compact footprint.
“It was not an easy task, though it appears really simple,” Hung-Ming says in a studio mission statement. “We hope people see it as a quiet, functional sculpture.”
Or simply use a small tray table, like Smith & Hawken’s black steel-framed one with a removable wooden tray top.
Many planters are art pieces themselves. Jonathan Adler’s Muse Dora Maar planter was inspired by the French poet, painter and muse to Picasso. A modernist carved face encircles the cement vessel; filling it with a tumble of feathery ferns, or a tall slim tree, would add another dimension to the profile.
Midcentury-modern designer Arthur Umanoff’s 1961 rattan and steel planter might be a chic addition to a room with a similar aesthetic. And the warm, wavy texture would look wonderful in a contemporary boho-inspired or maximalist-themed space as well.
Textured or fluted ceramics, especially in a matte finish, can elevate even the most basic houseplant. You’ll find affordable options in Target’s Opalhouse and Project 62 collections.
At Lightology, Kenneth Cobonpue’s faceted, oxidized metal Boulders planters bring a masculine, midcentury vibe to the table.
Brittany Farinas, principal at Miami’s House of One design firm, has been exploring “botanical art,” like a preserved-moss wall in one recent project.
“There are endless possibilities when designing with preserved moss,” she says.
“Not only does it bring life and vibrancy to the home, but it acts as a conversational piece.”
Farinas worked on the moss feature wall with the team at Miami’s Plant the Future. The design studio also runs a shop offering wood forms like burled balls or driftwood troughs that can be filled with moss. The gnarled, weathered specimens with tufts of green peeking out of the crannies are natural objets d’art.
Wall planters are a fun way to play with houseplants. If you have a motley collection, popping them onto a wall can evoke an indoor jungle or conservatory vibe. If you go with a more curated assemblage –- say, cacti, succulents or one type of trailing vine — you’ll create an artsy, architectural look.
Holistic Habitat’s Romy wall planter collection features curvy cylinders of white ceramic, melding sculptural art with the greenery you place in them. Then there’s the Geo, with a slim circle of copper cradling the clay pot; it’s a living sconce.
Swedish company Wetpot offers a self-watering pot that makes sure you don’t over- or underwater. A terracotta planter, available in two sizes for either a couple of smaller plants or, perhaps, a potted fern, sits inside a reservoir of hand-blown glass; fill the reservoir, and plants will take in what they need.
Eli Manekin of Loop Living has designed a thoughtful collection of self-watering planters that hang elegantly from the wall or ceiling on wooden rods, knobs or loops.
Arhaus’ Miramar pots conjoin a roomy bowl and a tall cylinder, so plants can be transferred from small first home to roomier digs as they grow.
A bar cart makes a clever plant table that can be moved around to catch the sun. Ferm Living’s slim, powder-coated steel planter box, a bestseller on 2Modern’s site, comes in hues like rose, gray and olive; filled with greenery, it could serve as a pretty room divider.
Hanging macrame planters have a ’70s vibe. Options available online include Hay’s cool Phanta hanger, in black, green or blue, and made of recycled material.
Or make your own. At www.kenarry.com you’ll find instructions for a simple structure that can be adapted to any size pot. At www.hellonest.co there’s a slightly fancier one, but it still uses just three knots.