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by Jules Kendall

Jules Kendall shares the sweet and savory at her blog, Pancakes and French Fries. She almost never writes about food. Instead, she focuses on her improving her health, decluttering and simplifying her home, and life with two loud boys and one quiet husband. She is the creator of The William Morris Project, a weekly series that encourages people to have nothing in their home they do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

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  • I'm obsessed with plants. A great day for me is touring a nursery with rare or unusual plants. If you show me a room, the first things I notice are the houseplants. Odds are good that if I like a space, it's because there's greenery. Plants add life and texture to a room, especially when paired with the perfect pot. Plants add beautiful, vivid color. They also purify the air in your home. Plants can also be intimidating to many people.
     
    As intimidating as plants can be, people keep buying and killing them. That's how important they are to a well-designed room. I'm not a horticulturalist, or even plant expert, but I do have over 15 years of experience in keeping plants alive. Here's what I have learned—through much trial, error, and research—about successfully nurturing the most common plants you'll see on design blogs today. Today's topic is hanging plants.

    Those hanging string of pearls (above left) are a beautiful sight to behold, but they won't work in a home—not the way they are currently potted. When hanging plants indoors, there are three challenges you should always consider: weight, upkeep, and access. Master all three and your hanging plants stand a chance.
  • Photo: El Burro
  • Weight


    Hanging plants are heavy once you total up the weight of the plant, its pot, and the plant mix. Then you have to water it frequently which only adds more weight. Your plant will fall to the ground faster than a lead balloon without the proper hook. That hook must be anchored to a support beam, stud, or ceiling joist if you want to avoid a huge mess or, worse, injury. You can also try decreasing the weight by using lighter pots and adding perlite to your planting medium.

    Do not line your indoor hanging plants with coconut fiber like you see in the string of pearls picture. Yes, it's much lighter than a hanging pot. Yes, it's pretty. But as light and pretty as it may be, that technique is best used on your outdoor hanging plants unless, of course, you love the look and sound of water draining onto your floors.
  • Upkeep 


    Perlite is great for reducing the weight of a hanging plant and also improves aeration and drainage. One problem: You'll be watering your hanging plant a lot more than your plants in regular pots without perlite. If you find watering your plants a challenge, buy pots with water reservoirs or use water globes. Both will help you cut down on your watering schedule and increase your odds of keeping the plant alive.
     
    Wait, it gets better. Because you're watering your plant more often, you'll need to feed and fertilize it more, too. Fertilizer spikes for hanging plants are your new best friend.
  • Photo: vtwonen
  • Access 


    You're watering more, and you're feeding more. That means you need to be able to access your hanging plants safely and easily. This pulley system works both indoors and outdoors. Or, you can always use a nice step stool.

    Bonus: Some step stools make perfect plant stands.
  • Alternatives


    If I've completely scared you off hanging plants but you still like the look, consider a hanging plant stand or a traditional plant stand. You get to enjoy the beauty of trailing plants in your home without worrying about weight and access. You still have to water your plants, though. There's no avoiding that one!
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