Ask the Expert: Top Tips for House Plant Placement and Styling

Posted by Kerri-lyn Holland on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 at 5:36pm.

A big thank-you to plant lover and guest contributor this month Kimberly Wynn for partnering with us and sharing her top tips for creating an indoor house plant oasis.

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"Kim my plant is dying! How do I save it?"

"Kim, the leaves on my _________ are turning yellow - what do I do?"

"Kim, I have a black (or brown) thumb. Please help."

"Kim, what's the best plant for someone who forgets to water all the time?"

Messages I get all too often on Instagram DM. Although I don't call myself a plant doctor by any means, I have through trial and error, become somewhat of a plant whisperer. I truly believe everyone has a green thumb, but only some have unlocked the natural powers within! What's the secret? It's all about choosing the right plants for different areas of your home. A huge mistake people often make is going to a plant shop or greenhouse and getting sucked into those beautiful Instagram-worthy plants such as Fiddle Leaf, Rubber Tree, Majesty Palms etc. But stop and take a moment to analyze how much light comes into the room you're about to place your new friend. Are they getting enough light? Are they getting too much light? Not everyone is blessed with skylights or south-facing windows, and that's okay! Because there's a leafy friend for everyone and every pocket of your home. Trust me. Here's a little cheat sheet before you go plant shopping - and a complete room makeover as a demonstration.

BEFORE

One of my clients Shantelle Louise, an amazing photographer based out of St. Albert, and the co-owner of Poppy Wynn Flower Company, asked me to plant style her studio. When she told me her studio is located in her family’s home basement, I was scared to ask how much light she has! Luckily, I discovered it was a walkout basement with SW facing windows. We wanted to create a couple different scenes (or vignettes) she could use to photograph her clients.

Vignette 1:

A low profile canopy bed. This area is closest to the SW facing windows, but doesn’t get a ton of light in the morning. The sun starts shining through in the late afternoon, but this area generally has bright diffused light.

AFTER

I felt this was the perfect way to demonstrate different lighting situations. As a general rule, plants love bright diffused light throughout the day (at least 6-8 hours). That's why, as mentioned above, placing plants near a south facing window is ideal because you'll get bright sun all day, especially in the summer. So, if you're one of the lucky ones with a south facing window - YIPPEE! Please know that many people are envious of you. Great candidates for right near the window:

  • Cactus

  • Succulent (aloe vera is my favorite)

  • African violet

  • SOME Palms (Majesty like sunshine)

  • Fiddle Leaf

Above: Cactus and aloe vera are raised using plant stands, to catch the light from the window on the right

But even too much light can burn your leaves, so if you’re noticing some scorching on your leaves, try diffusing the light with sheer curtains or frosting the window. West facing windows produce bright light, but not long exposure to direct sun. Candidates for west facing windows, or a few feet away from the window:

  • Rubber Tree

  • Dracaena

  • English Ivy

  • Monstera

  • Kentia Palm

  • Most fern species

Pictured above, rubber tree placed a few feet away from the SW facing window on the right.

And then, of course… low light plants. These will forever be my best friends as many of us don’t have the luxury of bright rooms. This could be because you only have one window in a room, and it’s north facing. OR, a common problem is obstruction from large trees outside and tall buildings etc. This is a problem in Edmonton as there are more and more tall infills going up in neighbourhoods once dominated by bungalows. Great candidates for low light situations:

  • Pothos

  • Philodendron

  • Snake Plant

  • ZZ Plant

  • Peace Lily

  • Spider Plant

Pictured above the macrame headboard: Neon pothos and philodendron - great for high places as they can trail down. Dramatic effect! On the nightstand, furthest away from the window is a snake plant.

Vignette 2:

An untraditional boho style vanity on the floor. This area is not very bright since it’s located in the darkest part of the room in the corner and furthest away from the window.

AFTER

Pictured above the vanity: Philodendron. On the floor: snake plants

You can read all the articles and blog posts you want, but to be truly successful at plant care is all trial and error. Believe me when I say I’ve killed many plants. The trick is to not let it phase you, just keep trying and experimenting! Edmonton is home to so many great plant shops and greenhouses. Ask the store clerks lots of questions, that’s what they’re there for. And I can bet they’ve killed plants too - how else can you learn? Here are some of my favourite spots in and around town:

 

Happy Planting! 

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Kim Wynn is a former morning show TV broadcaster in Edmonton and Vancouver. Her and her husband Chris now run Plaid Collar Films, a production company specializing in visual storytelling and weddings. Her love of plants had led her to style various spaces and help people and businesses create beautiful green sanctuaries.

 

 

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