|Bringing the Outdoors In
Live plants add color to any room and they’re fairly inexpensive too— a big plus if you’re decorating on a budget
You can start with some of the classic houseplant favorites, such as spider plants, ficus trees and African violets, but they’re just the beginning.
Check your local florist shop or greenhouse, and you’ll find many other options to expand your collection. Splurge on one or two large plants, if you like, but I prefer to pick a half-dozen or so smaller plants to provide a variety of heights and colors.
Adding seasonal plants to your basic collection is an excellent way to create contrasts in your indoor garden. Florist’s cyclamen, on their other hand, with its nodding pink, red or white flowers and silver-mottled leaves, is a spectacular choice.
If you’re an avid (and organized) outdoor gardener, consider potting some of your favorite annuals before the first frost. Begonias, impatiens and geraniums are just a few plants that easily make the transition indoors, and they’ll continue to bloom through the winter months. Come spring, just set them outside again, and you can keep them going year after year.
While flowering plants are undeniably flashy, carefully chosen foliage plants can give their showy cousins a run for their money. Crotons, for instance, can have shades of green, yellow, red, pink and orange all in one leaf! Add in the fact that every leaf has a slightly different coloration, and you have a handsome houseplant that is sure to catch the eye of any visitor. Many other foliage plants also offer multi-colored leaves, with stripes, spots and splashes of white, silver or yellow against the usual green background.
Color, of course, is a key consideration when you’re decorating with plants, but there are certain beauties that offer something beyond mere good looks: They smell great, too! Gardenias and star jasmine are two favorites for fragrant flowers, and just a few blossoms can perfume an entire room.
Leaves can be aromatic, as well, and my favorite of the fragrant foliage plants is scented geraniums. Unlike the traditional red window box geraniums, which have a rather sharp, nose-wrinkling aroma, scented geraniums come in a dizzying variety of delightful fragrances, from lemon, rose and apple, to coconut, nutmeg, peppermint and even strawberry. And don’t overlook garden herbs, such as bay laurel, rosemary, basil and chives. They are ideal for adding color and fragrance to a sunny kitchen windowsill, and they’ll be within easy reach for cooking, too!