Hanging plants add a certain panache to the interior landscape by adding height to the plantscape and getting some greenery nearer the ceiling where it can be enjoyed from any vantage point in the room.
A hanging plant becomes an integral part of the overall design of the interior space, a vital element that if removed, would leave a definite void.
A hanging plant can add a lot of visual weight to the room, depending on the placement of a hanging plant and the particular kind of plant chosen. For example, a large hanging basket of Tradescantia ‘Zebrina’ will grow to be a metre in length and almost half a metre wide, comprised of a solid ball of dark foliage.
Contrast that to the look of a more airy plant, such as a sword fern — or any other kind of fern for that matter — or perhaps a grape ivy, which will certainly have a presence, but in a more subdued way. The fern fronds will have a softer look and the entire mass of foliage will not be as solid looking.
Then there are the almost frothy, very fine plants that present a very airy, light effect, with their almost feathery appearance. Some of the best foliage hanging plants grown for their foliage include the smaller philodendrons, ivies, piggy back plant, and spider plants.
All of these plants create an open, airy appearance because of their smaller leaves and prolific branching habit, which means that new stems will protrude profusely from the plant. Some judicious pruning and training will keep a plant as open in appearance as you like.
Even smaller plants with intricate structure or colouration are perfect hanging plants for the interior landscape as well. They will add focal points and points of interest without overpowering the room with a lot of weighty foliage, which would be advantageous in a smaller indoor space.
String of pearls — a cascading succulent, Fittonia (Nerve Plant), with its distinctive white and green foliage — and some of the pepperomias would achieve this effect. They would need to be potted into small containers hung by similarly sized hangers that would be in scale with the size of the plants.
A few flowering plants will perform well indoors if given enough light. One of the prettiest is the chenille plant with its dark green leaves and fuzzy red blooms that adorn the plant almost all year long.
This plant should be hung in front of a sunny window or grown in a sunroom, as it requires direct sun to perform well. Another flowering plant that will look good hung in front of a sunny window is the lipstick plant.
Either of these plants will create a colourful focal point. Besides strong light, they require fertile soil, regular feeding and enough water to keep their planting medium consistently moist.
One flowering hanging plant that will perform well in bright light, but not direct sunlight, is Tahitian Bridal Veil. It is a relative of Tradescantia, but its leaves are tiny compared to those of its cousins.
Bridal Veil is an airy plant whose fine foliage is constantly covered with tiny white flowers, creating a lovely airy, display of white and green.
If you have hanging pots of tradescantia, spider plant, Swedish ivy or English ivy, this is the time of year that you might take some slips off the parent plants to create starter plants for the outdoor garden. If you want hanging baskets, plant the slips right into damp soilless mix in hanging baskets to avoid transplanting.
Put several slips into each pot and don’t bother with rooting hormone. At this time of year, and with these particular plants, the slips will readily root in just a couple of weeks.
If you want the plants to use in mixed outdoor containers, simply grow them in six-inch pots. Feed them and water them as you would the rest of your bedding plants and by late May, you will have some good-sized plants to use in your outdoor containers.
If your indoor garden has not had any hanging plants in it this winter, consider adding some for another year. Hanging plants add a completely new dimension to any interior landscape.
Albert Parsons is a consultant for garden design and landscaping who lives in Minnedosa.