Now that the weather has gotten colder, I move indoors to get my container gardening fix! Just as with outdoor containers there are wonderful, hardy plants that can be used to beautify and purify the air in your indoor spaces. Let's take a look at some great plant combinations that you can do for yourself at your home.
One thing to remember: As with outdoor container gardens, the old formula 'Thrillers, Spillers and Fillers' for a beautiful container garden still applies here. Let's take a look at some unusual plants for an interesting look in your interior spaces. Many of the plants we will be using are tropical which is an added bonus since most of these really cool plants don't grow outdoors here in the Triad.
For the examples below, I would use a 18" diameter container or larger. Proper drainage is essential so if you use a plastic container, make sure there is a hole in the bottom. You will need a saucer at the bottom to catch any overflow. Add several inches of gravel in the bottom for drainage and fill the rest with Miracle Grow or other high nutrient potting soil. Indoor plants need to be fed regularly during their growing season.
Combination #1 (pictured) Indirect Light
Alocasia 'Butterfly': This unusual beauty from the Elephant Ear family. The beautiful large, almost black heavily veined leaves are an architectural addition to the container. Growing conditions vary from light filtered light to shade, depending on the variety. All need to be kept moist, high humidity and need to be fed regularly.
Nephthytis 'White Butterfly': Otherwise known as 'Angel Plant' this air purifying filler plant will do well in filtered light and the moist conditions the Elephant Ear also enjoy. This fast growing specimen will spill over the side of the container for a great affect in the container.
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow': The 'spiller' of this example boasts burgundy leaves for a great contrast in the container. Does excellent in low light and interior containers.
Combination #2- Indirect Light/Shade
Zamioculcas zamiifolia: 'ZZ Plant' is a hardy specimen with a great texture and unusual leaves. It makes a great focal point for the container. Do not over water this specimen. The old saying 'less is more' really applies to this plant. This would be a great container garden for busy professionals.
Pothos: This interior staple is known for its extremely hardy disposition (in almost any growing condition, if you kill this one it's on you!) It also boasts variegated green and yellow large leaves for a great textural contrast.
Asparagus densiflorus: Asparagus Fern (but really not a fern) has great texture and an unusual branching pattern add to the interest of this plant.
Combination #3- Indirect Light
Sansierviera: Also known as 'Mother in Law's Tongue' (I like that one) OR 'Snake Plant' makes a very striking display in the container with its upright habit and striped leaves.
Chlorophytum comosum: Also known as Spider Plant, will send its 'babies' draping down the side of the container. If you break off these 'babies' and place in soil, they will root and begin the process again. I move my Spider plant 'babies' from container to container, adding interest as needed.
Ivy: This exterior staple also makes a great display indoors- use either green or variegated variety.
Combination #4- Indirect Light
Scheffelera- Another air purifying plant with interesting habit and leaves. Variegated varieties add to the interest in this plant.
Heart Leaf Philodendron: This is also an interior staple with great fine texture, heart shaped leaves which are a deep, dark green. Use this specimen against a variegated neighbor to add to the contrast.
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow'
Combination #5- Indirect Light (pictured)
Phlodendron: We used the split leaf variety in this example
Transdescantia- For a great texture contrast, we under planted the Philodendron with purple and green variegated Oyster Plant.
READ More about container Gardens at:
About the Author:
Lori Hawkins, RLA, ASLA has been a registered landscape architect and active in the landscape design/build industry for over 25 years. For additional inspiring project pictures, design ideas, or great garden gifts, take a look at these websites:
GARDEN ART AND GIFTS: WWW.TriadGarden.com
DESIGN WORK PORTFOLIO: WWW.HawkinsLA.com