A lot of open space can sound like a dream, especially for
apartment dwellers, but in reality a large open space can sometimes make a home
feel bare and impersonal. For those who have a copious amount of open space in
their home, incorporating big, tall, and lush plants into the decor is an
excellent solution. There are many beautiful, sizable trees and palms that live
quite well indoors. Whether you have floor-to-ceiling windows with bold direct
sunlight, or a sweeping floor plan with just enough natural light to read by,
large plants add another dimension to the space. They can change the way you
approach and use an area by softening the room with their form and color.
We appreciate clean-lined design, but there are occasions that
call for something to ease the angularity. What better than a potted plant? It
can add visual comfort to right angles, edges, and corners. Sometimes you find
yourself with unused pockets of space after arranging your furniture,
especially if you've angled the furniture away from the walls. Fill those voids
with houseplants to give them a sense of purpose.
If you are using your floor plants to fill a void or soften a
minimalist environment, carefully consider your container selections. Used
sensitively, they can complement their surroundings, uniting the plant and the
layout. Take note of your selected plant's leaves. Each plant will have its own
volume, determined by the amount and size of its leaves as well as its
individual texture. Also pay attention to the overall height of the plant. Most
large floor plants grow six to twelve inches per year. You do not want to place
an eight-foot plant in a room with only nine-foot ceilings, as this could only
be a temporary arrangement.
In the project to the left, a large Polyscias balfouriana is
placed in the corner of a bedroom where it will receive bright, indirect light.
The plant's variegated leaf pattern helps to keep the room light and airy while
mirroring the look of the wallpaper. The white terrazzo stone container blends
in with the room's concrete floor but contrasts with the green, making the
plant the clear focus of the white-walled corner. Native to Southeast Asia, the
aralia does well in a humid environment where it receives medium moisture or
can dry out slightly in between waterings.
In the installation pictured on the next page, we planted a Ficus
lyrata in a tall, sleek, solid-white container. Ficus lyrata, known
as the fiddleleaf fig tree for its fiddle-shaped leaves, is one of the most
popular indoor trees. Native to West Africa, this tropical tree thrives in
full- to part-sun exposure and a short dry-out time between waterings. Their
big, leathery, waxy green leaves have a remarkably lush aesthetic,
complementing a range of interior styles. Here the white container blends into
the space, keeping the area clean and open, while the large, dark green leaves
of the Ficus balance out the visual weight of the loveseat. Although the
leaves of the Ficus are solid and large, when placed in a white
container, the plant almost floats above the seating area.
In large, open rooms with low to medium light, you can still
house some sumptuous plants. The Dracaena marginata shown on page 67,
otherwise known as the dragon tree, is favored for its thin, glossy green
leaves with red edges. Incorporate this plant into your home or office as a
statement piece—it will feel like a living sculpture. Some specimens have
multiple stems emerging from the base like columns, and sometimes a grower will
braid the plant's trunks as they mature. You can also find stumped forms, with
a gnarled and mature trunk base. Don't worry too much about lighting with this
plant, because it does well in low to medium light conditions and can be placed
in a central room away from direct sun and windows. Watering is also a breeze
as this plant can dry out two to four inches down between waterings.