Finding Room For Houseplants

supercat_gardenerMarch 28, 2007

Finding space for anything in my less than 750 sq. ft house is a challenge anyway. But where do I put my numerous houseplants? I finally pared down to 6 beloved specimens that I've owned for many years. A couple are from cuttings made from plants owned by my deceased mother and a couple were hers originally, so there is no parting with them. I dumped or gave away the rest. Just when I thought I'd reached a manageable number, I fell and broke my wrist. Guess what well=meaning friends and co-workers sent to cheer me up...houseplants! Actually they are two pots filled with many different plants. They're lovely and I really appreciate the thought, but it's starting to look like a jungle in here again. To make matters worse, my house is a split level with boxy rooms...no nice cubbys or spaces to tuck in a plant.

So are there are plant lovers out there who want to share how they find space in their smaller homes for greenery? I could use some ideas. (When I'm able to separate those pots into separate planters, I'm really going to be in trouble!)

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duluthinbloomz4

Sorry about your wrist - that really does set you back, doesn't it? I have a little more space to work with, but nothing really ideal for houseplants. I have a Spathe lily and a Christmas cactus on my fireplace hearth and both do real well in average room light conditions. I keep a few African Violets on a lamp table in the bay window and a small fern (an ancient piece from my Grandmother) and some vine cuttings in the space behind by corner kitchen sink. I've always tried to avoid adding anything to my decor like plant stands in front of windows, etc., so, like you, I limit myself to a favorite few indoor plants but go crazy and overboard with my outdoor gardening. I do have many windows, so at least for the spring and summer months, the outside efforts can be enjoyed from the inside.

This is a good cross-over topic. Have you checked out the House Plants forum?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:16PM
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supercat_gardener

I hadn't thought to cross-post...thanks for the suggestion,d4.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 3:15PM
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flgargoyle

It's a little more ambitious, but my favorite is to bump out a window for plants. My mother's kitchen window bows out about 12", and the plants get attention, since she sees them everyday (it's right over the sink). For many plants, an East or even North exposure is enough; South and West windows tend to overheat.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 4:45PM
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johnmari

I am a certified Black Thumbed Wonder, so let's not talk about plants in MY house! LOL I have one spider plant on perpetual life support that I won't part with since it's grown from a baby off my late dad's monster spider plant, but any self-respecting plant owner would have thrown the raggedy thing out long ago. That's the extent of my plants! But anyway, one of the nicest things and simplest things I've seen was heavy tempered glass shelves installed over a window (mounted on the trim) and the plants ranged on that. It actually works in lieu of a window treatment. Best with crank-out windows or windows you don't want to open too often, since it's kind of a pain to take down the plants and a shelf or two every time you want to open the window.

If you're really a plant freak and can afford to spend a bit those greenhouse windows are pretty spiffy, a fancier version of the above. It's like a tiny greenhouse cantilevered out from a regular window frame. A relative of mine had one in her tiny eat-in kitchen, she could sit at her little bistro table and pluck fresh herbs for her meals.

Multi-tiered plant stands are coming back "in", as in you can find them in the stores again. Linens & Things has one that will hold 5 plants in a 16x16 space, and it's only $30.

BTW, there is absolutely nothing wrong with passing those new planters on to someone else if you don't feel up to maintaining them yourself or you're just getting overly "jungly" in there. It has always been MY opinion that a gift of a living thing that requires ongoing care by the recipient is not much of a gift unless the recipient has made it clear that s/he really wants to undertake that care of that specific thing, whether it's a plant or a puppy.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 5:50PM
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supercat_gardener

Love the tempered glass shelves and would gladly get some if the house had more windows. The living room/kitchen /dining area has a glass slider and a picture window...that's it. Would like to put in a garden window in the kitchen some day. I have one window apiece in the two bedrooms. I just put a window in the bathroom and the sill is very narrow. While it probably sounds like the house would be dark, it's actually very bright except for the 2nd bedroom and my plants love the light. Did I mention that one of the plants is a "miniature" palm that my mother got in a dish garden many years ago and is now taller than me?
I'll have to check out those plant stands at L&T...god knows I have enough coupons!
I'm thinking of potting up some of the plants in the gift pots and re-gifting at least some of them. It will be several weeks at least until I can take on two-handed tasks and the plants are growing furiously....hope they don't strangle me in my sleep!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 6:50PM
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jaybird

DH has his recliner in a corner that has a slightly blocked south facing window. I have managed to get two largish plants into the corner BESIDE where the chair tilts back, and 3 smaller ones on the floor under the window. Sometimes when he is away from the house, I tip the chair over forward and get in there to inspect the plants for bugs or any other problems. The rest of the time, I just sit on the arm of the chair and pour rainwater laced with a little fish food over them! Occasionally he mutters about something smelling funny in that corner, and I just look innocent and say "WHAT could it BE??? I haven't changed a THING!!" ;^)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 1:54PM
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lucy

You could have lots of plants and no windows if you hang fluorescents above them (like they would be on one of those unnattractive tiered shelving units they use for propagation. Just suspend 1-2 from chains so they are within 6 inches of the plants and keep them on (you can get very cheap timers to use) for 14-16 hrs/day. They sell special 'full spectrum' bulbs (ask for T5's) in 4' long fixtures using 1-2 bulbs each.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 1:39PM
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supercat_gardener

I did hang fluorescents on chains in the lower level of my raised ranch when I was growing perennials from seed for the garden. I'm not sure if I want to try that in my main living areas though. The ones downstairs wouldn't win any awards for beauty due to my lack of handy person skills!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 3:13PM
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oakleif

I use hanging baskets from sturdy hooks suspended from the ceiling for some of mine and have been thinking about putting a Bakers rack in front of a sunny bedroom window.
oakleif

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 4:29AM
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