Green party: Eight ways to live with house plants

Best in class: They’re not just pretty in pots – indoor plants purify your air too

1. Green-on-green window scene

It's spring and you can finally see and feel it. So spruce up your indoors with some foliage, a decorative trope that is restful to live with and can even help oxygenate the air supply. This green-on-green window scene is one you can replicate if you have greenery outside that can be framed by glazing. The indoor geraniums, pictured to the front of shot, require exposure to direct sun in order to thrive and bloom and should really be positioned in sunlight in a room with a south- or a west-facing window or terrace as they love the sun. The furniture pictured is by one of Europe's last living functionalists, the Hungarian-born, German-trained designer Peter Ghyczy whose son Felix helps to run the eponymous firm. The pieces, pictured, are the brass frame Grace bench, €1,752, and 200cm-long Brad sofa, €6,060 both made to order in the Netherlands. Prices are ex VAT and delivery from the Dutch-based firm.

2. Happy trails

Trailing plants look fabulous when set on shelving, bookcases or ledges, as this Harveys Furniture shot shows. The English ivy, pictured in the hanging glass planter and on the shelf, loves a cool room, a bathroom that doesn't have direct sunlight, for example; while on the ledge, to the left, is scindapsus 'Brazil', that when nurtured will drape down compellingly. Just don't put in direct sunlight. In the large planter on the floor is philodendron 'Atom', an on-trend, compact plant that will suit smaller homes, according to Cian Brennan of Dublin-based urban garden centre, Plantlife.,

3. Hide and green

Plants look beautiful when set against shades of terracotta and tan as this Society tan leather sofa from Very shows when tall kentia palms are set to its rear. If you want to have plants in a sitting room where you have an open fire it is worth noting that the heat eats the humidity in the room, robbing moisture from plants and may explain why yours have dry tips or fail altogether, Cian Brennan explains. He also sheds light on the use of terracotta pebbles, the kind that you often see in public or office environments as a covering for planting. A by-product of the brick industry their clay composition helps to soak up excess water. The sofa pictured is currently sold out but a chair version is still available, and is reduced from about €920 to €736, while a footstool in the same leather is down from €574 to €460. The Hudson Living Menzies accent table, €137 for a side and €172 for a coffee size, is also available at Very.

4. Green reflections

The long lean looks of this walnut media unit sit perfectly at the base of this large picture window, helping to capture the wonderful exterior green scene. The restful colour outdoors is echoed in the plant choices indoors, that sit atop the tambour-fronted and Corian-topped design by Wharfside that costs about €2,987, less a 15 per cent online discount, ex delivery from its London shop. To the right is opuntia – or prickly pear – a plant that will love a south-facing window. To the left is a type of euphorbia, a succulent that should be watered sparingly, Plantlife's Cian Brennan says.


5. Give a fig

Ficus lyrata, pictured here in sea grass arrow baskets, available in three sizes, small €20, medium €30 and large €45 and in a zig zag basket, made from water hycianth, also in three sizes, €20, €35 and €50 from Helen James' Considered range for Dunnes Stores look wonderful, and will thrive as long as you don't put in direct light, says Plantlife's Cian Brennan. Don't plant directly into these vessels either – use only as outer pots into which you put the plants in pots using saucers below to prevent leakage. The woven strap bench, €125 and dot cushions, €20 each are also from the designer's new range.

6. Incy wincy spiders

Anyone who enjoyed hanging pots during the macramé craze first time around in the 1970s will recognise Chlorophytum comosum, its spidery or wispy stems explaining its spider plant moniker. It’s a good plant for novices and can help warm up the look of a cold bathroom, Plantlife’s Cian Brennan says. The selection, pictured, is from UK-based Nest but your local garden centre will also be able to supply a wide range. Arboretum, Horkans, The Orchard, Formality at the Cowshed and Murphy and Wood all stock a good selection of pots.,,,,,

7. Green air

All plants give out oxygen, says Cian Brennan and in a bedroom, spider plants, peace lily and ferns are all good options. His preferred options are cacti or Sansevieria, the latter is also known as mother-in-law's tongue, not pictured, because it produces oxygen at night and improve the air quality of the room, all while you're sleeping. This sedate slumber set-up, features a Bronte bed frame by UK-based And So To Bed. Available in either black, pictured, or white with a choice of antique brass or polished nickel finials, it has been reduced from about €2,225 to €1779, ex delivery.

8. No need to water

The verdant rooftop garden lounge at Paris restaurant Pink Mamma, designed by Martin Brudinski Design Studio sits beneath a pitched glazed roof strung with festoon lighting and planting on its cross beams. Cian Brennan believes the greenery here is artificial, something that you could easily replicate in an old conservatory that needs a fashion injection. Plant Life supplies artificial as well as living plants and a similar ivy will cost about €15 for a 50cm length. This trellis also provides shade for the living plants on the floor.