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Trailing plants are not usually the first choice as indoor plants. But, there are a number of creative ways to display them that adds character to a room without cluttering it.
Vining plants like the Ticky creeper (Ficus pumila), Philodendron scandens, also known as the sweetheart plant for its heart-shaped leaves, and Golden Pothos (Scindapsus aureus) are all vigorous growers, easily trained as indoor climbers on a wall trellis or frame, up a staircase, on room dividers, and balconies.
Philodendron scandens is able to grow for metres or can be trimmed and kept to a manageable size. Plants tolerate all light conditions, from shady to bright light, but do best in medium light. Keep the soil consistently moist although the surface soil can dry out slightly before watering again.
Plants also look good trailing from a hanging basket or tumbling down from the top of a bookcase or cupboard.
Golden Pothos is valued for its air-purifying properties, making it a suitable plant for bedrooms, especially those of teens who might like the “jungle” look. Suspend it over the bed to make the most of its air-purifying benefits. It is an easy-care plant that is virtually indestructible.
The yellow variegation in the leaves makes it a striking foliage plant and it looks good all year round. It tolerates a range of light levels from low to bright indirect light, but not direct sunlight.
In double-storey homes or townhouses with a mezzanine floor, create an impressive feature by trailing plants over the upper level, providing an over-hanging curtain of green.
The trailing succulent, String of Beads or Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) is particularly good for this. No matter how it is displayed, it looks spectacular. It can be in a hanging basket, in a decorative pot on a shelf, suspended next to a window or in front of one (that doesn’t get direct sun) as a green curtain. Its uses are endless.
Be careful of overwatering, ideally once a week watering in summer and once a month in winter. Plants do best with very bright indirect light and minimal sun as this can burn the plant.
A humid bathroom, kitchen or warm living room offers the perfect micro-climate for the Button Fern (Pellaea rotundifolia) from New Zealand, Maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp) or Rabbit’s Foot fern (Davallia bullata).
Hang baskets, suspended at different heights. For instance, if the bathroom lacks ambience, suspend the fern-filled baskets in a well-lit corner, preferably over the bath or in the shower so that they can soak up the humidity.
Maidenhair ferns are not difficult to grow indoors, but like a warm, humid environment, good light and moist potting medium.
Take the plants down at regular intervals and spritz to clean dust off the leaves.
Clay pots dry out faster and are better for plants that are sensitive to overwatering. Ceramic pots are good for plants that like humidity.
Broad containers allow the plant to spread horizontally while tall, narrow containers compact the growth and create a vertical look.
Hang trailing plants high to get the benefit of their trailing growth. More compact trailing plants can be suspended lower to enjoy the foliage.
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