A large, specimen houseplant can reinvigorate a whole room. By adding greenery and height next to a chair, near a window, or in a blank corner, a space suddenly feels more put together, more vibrant, and more complete.
Living plants add something that art or décor alone cannot match—their growth and expansion help us mark time, and their organic shapes make us humans feel right at home.
When choosing a houseplant to enhance your space, consider the size of the leaves, the color, and the texture of the foliage. Knowing the light level in your space is critical when selecting the right plant, but equally important are design elements like the color of the walls, the style of nearby furniture, and the pot in which the plant will be placed.
By making thoughtful choices, your investment in a statement plant will ultimately be more successful than if you impulsively buy a small plant when passing through a big box store.
Preparing Your Home for Big Houseplants
Bring large plants into your home with care and attention. Assess the rooms in your house for blank corners or areas that feel stagnant or unbalanced—is there an armchair that feels like an island all by itself? Are there windows with furniture on one side and nothing on the other? Is there a gaping space where your Christmas tree once stood? Vacant corners in dining rooms, living rooms, or bedrooms can go unnoticed but are often perfect locations for tall houseplants.
Statement plants are often the perfect addition to an entryway or foyer. Elegant or interesting plants are ideal accents to those transitional spaces, grounding the room and serving as an elevated focal point that feels both sophisticated and welcoming. If it’s a drafty space with lots of changes in temperature, it’s wise to make note of that as well.
Take a photo of the location you have in mind, along with a few secondary locations, and bring those with you to the garden center’s plant shop when selecting your plants. Use a measuring tape to get the dimensions of the space and bring those notes with you when you shop.
Understand how light moves through your room before you shop for plants to set you and your new houseplant up for long-term success. Are there large windows in your room? When does the sun hit that side of the house? Is the room south, west, east, or north-facing?
Even if you feel like your room is well lit, pay attention to what the light does on a typical day and come prepared to discuss the light levels in your room with our knowledgeable employees when you’re selecting your new plant. One of the elegant grow lights in our plant shops may be the perfect addition to help your new houseplant thrive.
Designing With Statement Plants
Before you go shopping for your new frond, gather interior design ideas for plants. As you scroll through images on Instagram or Pinterest, or as you flip through magazines, take snapshots of plants and interiors that inspire you. When you shop, bring photos of art, décor, and furniture in your home so you can better visualize the pottery and plants you plan to add.
And keep in mind that when it comes to houseplants, bigger really is better. Buying a larger plant typically means less maintenance will be needed—the larger nursery pot size means more developed roots and less need to baby your plant along the way!
Here is some indoor plant design inspiration to help you get started:
Our Favorite Tall Indoor Plants
Buying plants from local garden centers and nurseries means that the plant came from a reputable grower and has been acclimated to our environment. In the winter, that means your statement houseplant from one of our plant stores is already accustomed to the low light levels found in Pacific Northwest homes, and in the summer, it means the shock of low humidity levels are less likely to stress your new addition.
Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae – Long leaf stalks support huge matte green leaves; a perfect fit for modern spaces or tropical aesthetics. For smaller spaces, try the reginae species. Care Tips: Bright, direct/indirect light; mature height 3.5-6’, consistent watering and high humidity preferred.
Dracaena, Dracaena reflexa and Dracaena fragrans – Tall, columnar plants with strappy, leaves are perfect for tight spaces that need vertical interest. Different varieties offer different architectural interest as well as variegation and leaf color. Care Tips: Medium light; mature height 4-5’; moderate water needs, avoid excessive watering.
Ficus, Ficus benghalensis ‘Audrey’ and Ficus triangularis – We love the matte green, uniform leaves of these ficus. Often easier to care for than lyrata, both the variegated forms offer additional interest over straight green leaves. When pruned on a standard (tree-form plant), the look is elevated and makes a strong statement. Care Tips: Bright, indirect light; mature height 5-10’; moist but well drained soil; do not allow to dry out.
Fiddle Leaf Fig, Ficus lyrata – Large leaves are rich green on top and matte green on the underside. The unique leaf shape and veination has made this a must-have statement plant; can be temperamental when moved to a new location. Care Tips: Consistent, bright indirect light; mature height 7-8’; consistent watering, avoid excess watering.
Monstera, Monstera deliciosa and Monstera adansonii – A favorite indoor plant due to their large, irregular leaves and fast growth habit. Varieties with variegated leaves like ‘Albo’ and ‘Thai Constellation’ provide added interest over straight green varieties. Care Tips: Bright, indirect or medium light; mature height 3-4’; moist but well drained soil.
Palm, Ravenea rivularis and Dypsis decaryi – The fine-cut foliage of these non-toxic palms is at home in both modern and traditional interiors. While other varieties may be difficult to care for, these lower-maintenance options are consistent favorites. Care Tips: Bright, indirect light; mature height 5-6’; consistently moist but well-drained soil.
Schefflera, Schefflera actinophylla ‘Amate’ and Schefflera ‘Alpine’ – Large, glossy green compound leaves make these varieties a modern upgrade over the standard umbrella plant. Care Tips: Bright, direct or light; mature height 10’; consistently moist but well-drained soil.
Browse inventory at your local garden center to order your plant. If it’s too big for your vehicle, we can deliver it to your space!
How to Pot & Care for Large Houseplants
Many people are intimidated by large houseplants, especially if they feel they’ve failed with smaller specimens in the past. However, caring for large houseplants is actually easier than their smaller counterparts—large houseplants are more mature and have a more developed root system. With a few practical considerations, anyone can be successful with large, specimen houseplants.
Large houseplants purchased at a reputable garden center will come potted in the correctly sized nursery pot and do not need immediate repotting. We suggest you place the nursery pot directly into a large ceramic, fiberstone, or wicker container to achieve the right design aesthetic without compromising the roots of the plant by repotting. You’ll notice that many indoor plant pots do not have holes, which can actually help protect floors and table tops and rely on you leaving the plant in the original nursery pot which does have holes.
- Place a deep plastic saucer in the base of the pot—you may have to set it on a block or overturned empty plastic nursery pot to achieve the correct height.
- Place the houseplant inside the pot on top of the plastic saucer—there should be at least 2-inch difference in the diameter of the saucer and the plant pot, leaving a 1-inch gap around the pot.
- Top dress the top of the plant to disguise the gap between the nursery pot and the decorative pot—use Spanish moss or dried green moss, depending on the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
While each statement houseplant might have slightly different needs, as a general rule of thumb, all houseplants require good drainage—root rot and overwatering will cause more stress than delaying watering by a few days. Follow our guidelines for proper watering of indoor plants. A moisture meter is a helpful indicator of the houseplant soil’s water content below the surface.
Our favorite way to water houseplants that have been potted using the method above is:
- Fill a watering can with water.
- Pour water into top of plant slowly so that it doesn’t run off the sides.
- Let the water drain through to the clear saucer below.
- Remove any excess water that has collected in the saucer after one hour using a turkey baster or pipette.
Most indoor plants are native to tropical regions and need more humidity than the rooms in our homes provide. Group plants together, add a small humidifier, or fill saucers and cups of water that can evaporate near your plants to increase humidity levels.
Periodic fertilizing of houseplants during the growing season (March–October) is recommended to keep them healthy and happy. Our favorite indoor plant fertilizers include:
Pests & Diseases
Your new plant will arrive without any fungal diseases or insect pests, but if problems should occur over time, don’t wait to start treatment. Start by assessing the plant for one of the 7 Common Houseplant Problems, or by consulting the staff at our garden centers and plant shops. Follow our tips for addressing common houseplant pests and problems with the proper methods for their treatment.
Biophilic Design: Benefits of Plants for Daily Well-Being
Not only are houseplants a visually pleasing addition to interior spaces, they also have a direct and measurable benefit on our well-being and mental health.
Human beings are hard-wired to seek out ways to connect with nature. By bringing plants into our living spaces, we can nurture our innate sense of biophilia. Increased interaction with plants can reduce stress and tension while elevating our moods. Explore biophilia, its research, and the principles of biophilic design on our biophilia page.
By being intentional about the plants you bring into your home, the pottery they are displayed in, and the companion plants that they are paired with, your investments can have lasting impacts aesthetically and emotionally.