The right plant for the right place

All too often indoor gardeners spy an irresistible little plant at the supermarket and take it home without giving any thought to where it will go.

A spot with the right amount of light is what matters most to a plant. Otherwise, it won't grow well. But have you ever thought about taking a cue from interior-design magazines and choosing plants that can jazz up your rooms?

Houseplants come in five shapes, each of which makes a design statement and helps solve a decorating problem.

Soft, airy plants - ming aralia, weeping fig, and asparagus plant - complement floral patterns and soften the hard edges of minimalism. Tall fan shapes - especially palms - fill in empty corners and are effective when spotlighted.

Bold graphic shapes - bird of paradise, ponytail palm - practically shout to be noticed. Let them show off as a room's focal point. Bushy plants are best standing alone or on a pedestal.

Think of columnar plants as the exclamation points of interior decorating. A tall, skinny cactus may be just the right finishing touch to Southwestern dcor, but it also fills the bill when space is limited and when that new apartment doesn't have much furniture yet.

But wherever you place a plant, give it the light it needs. A weeping fig isn't going to survive in a dark corner no matter how wonderful it looked when you put it there. Even professional designers can't manage the impossible.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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