Standing on the floor. The place for the large specimen plant is on the floor – placing a heavy pot on a table can make it look unsafe. Bold architectural plants are the usual choice, but there are other possibilities. Flowering standards are best displayed in this way and tall climbers with large leaves also make excellent floor-standing specimens. Interior designers love these tall specimen plants. A matched pair on either side of a door adds symmetry to a large room – a pot stood near a patio door brings the garden indoors.
A floor-standing plant must be chosen with care. Narrow, upright plants can make the ceiling look higher – low, spreading ones have the opposite effect. Remember the receptacle can damage the carpet so place a piece of wood or cork below it.
Hanging from the ceiling. There is no finer way of displaying a trailing plant than suspending it in a container attached to the ceiling or a wall bracket. Nothing impedes the cascading stems, and the sight of living plants in mid-air has a special attraction. We notice the plants in a hanging basket on the wall of a house and we wouldn’t give them a second glance if they were growing in the bed below. A hanging specimen plant can be used to add height to a floor-standing display or to add interest and color to a dull side or alcove window.
Don’t have a hanging display in the line of traffic if the ceiling is low – plants must never be part of an obstacle course. Choose the container with care and make sure that the attachment is strong enough to withstand the weight of the container and the compost just after watering. The plant must be a fine specimen and in peak condition – a bedraggled Ivy or a trailing stem or two of Philodendron scandens may actually diminish the beauty of the environment. Plant care is not easy – it is obviously more difficult to water a hanging display than its floor-standing od windowsill-sitting counterpart.
Standing on furniture. Small specimen plants need to be raised off the ground so that they can be enjoyed at close range. The usual way to do this is to place the pot on a windowsill, shelf or piece of furniture. You must use a drip tray which is deep enough to protect the surface of the furniture – mop up any spillage immediately.
Standing on a windowsill. People who regard their house plants as green pets rather than display material generally choose the windowsill as the favorite place to house them. From the display point of view it is much better to use an eye-catching specimen plant – low and bushy if sited in the middle of the window or tall and narrow if placed on one side. Choose a type with leaves which are enhanced by light shining through or on them – examples are Hypoestes and Iresine. Of course you must choose a plant which will be in keeping with its surroundings, a small and insignificant plant in a large window has little display value.
Choose the plant with care – if the window faces east, south or west you will need one which can withstand some direct sun. A south-facing window will need some form of screen against the hot summer sun. With the sun in summer and the radiator below in winter, watering can be a never-ending chore! If the view from the window is not important and you don’t need the light, consider having a hanging plant above and a sill-borne one below.
Standing on a pedestal. A number of indoor plants produce long pendulous stems or arching leaves and the display is often spoilt if the pot is stood on a sideboard or windowsill. You can buy a reproduction antique pedestal if your home is decorated in this style, but for modern surroundings it is extremely simple to make a wooden pillar with straight sides. To house several pots in a pedestal-like arrangement you can buy a metal or cane plant stand.
Growing against a wall. The plants most usually grown against a wall are flowering types (to provide a splash of color against a pastel wall) and trailers (to frame windows, pictures, etc). There are a number of difficulties – it is not easy to create moist conditions, the pot is often small which means that constant watering is essential, and it is difficult to tell when the plant requires watering in a high-mounted display. Choose a receptacle which is soundly made, not too ornate and with a saucer which is both large and deep.