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Elevate your plants: how to set them up for maximum visual impact

Elevate your plants: how to set them up for maximum visual impact

Elevate your plants: how to set them up for maximum visual impact

Plants have increasingly become a staple accessory for many homes across the country. Small ones, talls ones, fenestrated ones, architectural ones, the variety of plants available has become overwhelming. While it’s tempting to go wild and add as much green to your home as possible, there’s a big difference between carefully chosen and cared for plants, and those simply bought and pushed into a corner to fill dead space. In this post we look at five key ways to get the most from your leafy friends visually so that they can’t fail to give your space that wow factor. Keep reading for our top tips to up your plant game.

Some background

The term ‘ornamental horticulture’ isn’t commonly used outside of the gardening industry, but it’s useful to describe the cultivation and use of plants for a purely aesthetic purpose. When we supply and install plants for our clients we look to optimise every single element of the way the plant looks and how it fits within a given space.
Many indoor plants will have undergone a long journey by the time they reach someone’s home in the UK, most likely via the Netherlands. If they come from a good grower / retailer, they will be in top condition with lush foliage, a healthy root system, a good compact form and, most importantly, pest and disease free. For many plant enthusiasts, the main focus is on how to keep the plant looking healthy and with good consistent growth. But, rather than deal with basic plant care tips in this post, we’re going to think about what else you can do to get the most out of your plants and create an indoor jungle worthy of any interior design photo shoot. (Click on each point below to see more).

1. Go big

It can be tempting to buy lots of smaller plants to build up your collection. And that’s great if you’re a newbie to plants but, once you’re confident with plant care and want to level up, we recommend focusing on larger specimen plants (over 1.5m tall).

Larger plants create great impact and are generally more balanced in terms of proportions, especially when placed alongside furniture or next to windows. Smaller plants are good for dressing tables and shelves, but bear in mind, most plants will need to be placed close to a natural light source if grow lights are not being used.

2. Create clusters

One of our favourite ways to add impact with plants is to cluster them. When you’re going for an informal look, plants of varying heights and textures look great when clustered together in groups of three or more.

When creating clusters of plants, make sure you have some variety in terms of height, leaf shape and overall form. That said, try and keep some kind of a theme with the collection – if they’re all wildly different it can end up looking messy, rather than designed.
And don’t just think about the plants, the pots and planters they’re in are just as important. Having a similar finish is the safest way to bring your scheme together, but if you’re aiming for a bolder aesthetic, you can try playing around with different materials and finishes to mix things up.

Finally, remember that each plant needs enough light. We love a cluster but we don’t want to cram plants together so that some of them get hidden in darkness or so that their foliage gets squashed. Let each one breathe and soak up as much light as possible.

3. Don’t skimp on your planters

Planters are a crucial part of caring for healthy, happy plants. If you’re investing in a beautiful specimen plant, then it deserves the right planter. Although plants can often be planted directly into a decorative planter, for the sake of simplicity and easy plant care, we recommend you keep them in their nursery pot and simply slot them into a bigger decorative planter.

A common mistake is choosing planters that are too small. The planter should be in proportion to the plant, so get the dimensions right before you think about style. You’ll need a planter that gives the plant stability and enough breathing space for its root ball. If the root system is looking too crammed, make sure you pot up into a bigger nursery pot before selecting the planter that will serve as its decorative cover.

The planter you choose should fit with your interior decor in terms of style. There’s a reason why terracotta is so popular and that’s because it goes with just about everything. At Underleaf we love baskets because they’re also neutral in style but add some texture which is great for softening a space.

Neutral is the safe option so why not be daring? Don’t be afraid of bold colours, unusual materials or unconventional shapes. Although vase or pear shaped planters can be slightly more difficult to set up, they’re often the most aesthetically pleasing and help to raise your plant upwards (see point 5 below).

4. Set your plant within its decorative planter correctly

The soil around the base of the plant should be just below the rim of the planter. This gives your plant the right height for watering and will show off its stem, which is often one of the most exciting features. If you have a taller planter you can raise the plant up by filling the pot with aggregate, like hydroponic granules or gravel. It’s also a good idea to top things off with high quality ornamental bark or some neutral stone chippings. Those small details make a big difference in the impact your plants will have.

5. Elevate your plants

Now we’re not being heightist here, but height really is an important factor for plants – for a number of reasons. Raising your plants off the ground can create a more striking visual hook when looking into a space, it can also help to form a canopy effect.

Tall plants might work well being placed on the floor, as they already have the height. But small and medium plants will draw a lot more attention if they’re on a higher surface. The easiest way to give your plants height is to use one of the following:

- a stool or pedestal
- a taller planter
- a planter on a stand
- a higher surface near natural light, such as a table or worktop

We hope these tips come in handy, and we’d love to see your home plant schemes – simply tag us on Instagram @underleaf.

And if you’re looking for ways to improve your home plant scheme or you need inspiration for the right plants to choose, our team is here to help. Drop us an email to or pop into our Underleaf shop at 94 Columbia Road, London.



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