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Add an extra dimension to your plant displays by hanging them from a high position. Not only will you save valuable space on shelves and window sills (which are probably already heavily planted), but you can display some species to a much better effect.
Here at foli8, we offer a range of small hanging plants in kokedama-style planters, but there is no reason why you can’t hang some of our larger plants too - macrame has proven to be a popular lockdown hobby, so you might have some new pot hangers looking for a use.
Why hang plants?
There are several good reasons to display houseplants in hanging planters. First, they save space on your horizontal surfaces - which might already have a large number of plants on them. Extra space for indoor plants is always needed for an enthusiastic collector, so hanging plants from a suitable point is a great way of getting extra space.
Next, some plants look better when hanging. Those with trailing foliage, such as the Silver Inch Plant (Tradescantia zebrina) or the String of Hearts (Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii) really show off their foliage as it cascades downwards, and they also have room to grow.
However, not all hanging plants need to have trailing foliage to be visually appealing. Even cacti and succulents look great as hanging plants and foli8 offer a set of 3 cacti in Kokedama hanging planters, as shown below.
Hanging plants also bring their charms to eye level (although you might want to be careful about placing them where you will bump your head), and this allows you to display plants in an almost tiered style - floor standing plants, plants on shelves and window sills and finally hanging plants. In a way, this mimics nature - any walk into a forest will show you plants at different levels, so having plants at different positions is quite biophilic.
Finally, hanging plants can add interest to otherwise blank walls and corners, and even draw the eye away from ugly features or add some life to window views that might otherwise be just a blank wall.
Decorative hanging planters
If you buy houseplants from a garden centre or DIY store, you might find hanging or trailing plants supplied in plastic pots with rather unattractive hooked attachments clipped onto the rim of the pot. These are certainly effective, but they are not very easy on the eye. Instead, opt of a decorative plant pot to complement your plant and also your home own style.
You may wish to consider hanging terrariums - these are readily available and come in a variety of styles, and can be really attractive. They have the advantage of keeping the plants dust free and some can create a microclimate for the plants as well.
One popular style of plant hanger is home-made macrame. These were very popular in the 1970s (my grandmother spent many hours knotting cords and beads together) and they have made a bit of a comeback - possibly a lockdown hobby during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Macrame has a very long history - Babylonian and Assysrian carvings dating back over 3,000 years show macrame knots. The craft was introduced to Europe during the Moorish conquest of Spain and first made its appearance in England at the court of Mary II in the Seventeenth Century.
The beauty of macrame is that it is a craft that can be learned by anyone, and you can produce pot hangers in a large range of sizes, so you can hang even the biggest of your plants.
<image: macrame pot hanger. Credit Amina Filkins, via Pexels>
Another traditional craft is kokedama. This originates in Japan and literally means moss ball. Kokedama uses a naturally-occurring granular clay, called akadama, and moss. These are mixed and formed into a ball, which is wrapped around the rootball of the plant. Wires and threads are used to hold the structure together. Kokedama displays can be set on a saucer or hung from the ceiling, and the plants are watered by wetting the moss and clay ball.
<image: traditional kokedama plant displays. Credit Armand Valendez, via Pexels>
Kokedama is a skilled craft, but foli8 can help you achieve the look with our range of kokedama-style plant displays, which use coco-fibre round pots, with a waterproof liner. The look of the foli8 hanging kokedama-style plants is very distinctive, but they are as easy to care for as all other hanging plants.
Top tips for hanging plant care
Access to plants
One of the issues surrounding hanging plants is being able to get up to them. Plants above head height need to be reached by standing on a secure platform, such as a step, and it is not a good idea to overreach to try and get to the plants, so think carefully about where you are going to locate your plants.
Plants at windows or against walls can be hung at eye level. This will not only make it easier to look after your plants, but they will be more visible too. Plants with trailing foliage (such as the silver inch plant, string of hearts or the scindapsus collection), look good from below, as well as head on. You could also consider plants that look good from above too. Examples of the latter in our range include our mixed succulents collection, our selection of cacti and our aloes and related species collection.
Weight of hanging plants
If you are considering hanging large plants, you should bear in mind that the weight of a fully watered plant and pot can be well over a kilogramme, and that weight may increase over time as your plant grows. In these instances, make sure that your plant support is securely anchored and is capable of taking the weight of your plant display.
Smaller displays, such as our kokedama-style plants, are much smaller and light-weight, so it is possible to hang them from less hefty hooks and brackets. This gives a greater deal of flexibility and ensures that the appearance of the displays is not spoilt by chunky structures. Picture hooks or cup hooks are suitable fastenings as the kokedama-style planters weigh very little, even when fully watered (typically less than 400g).
Heat and light
Plants at higher positions in a room experience different environmental conditions compared with those at floor level. Often, temperatures may be a degree or two higher, unless you have very good air circulation, and the air may be less humid too. These conditions (and the lack of close-up visibility) make it easier for plant pests to make themselves comfortable - especially pests like two-spotted spider mites.
<image: two spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) - author’s own collection>
Light levels might be different too. Many hanging plants look good when displayed near windows, or in conservatories, so will experience high light levels. However, this light is going to come from one direction only, which will encourage the foliage to grow towards the window and away from you, so it is always a good idea to rotate your plants every week or so to ensure more even growth. And remember, some plants like bright light while other plants thrive in shady spaces, so be sure to consider this before choosing your plant.
Watering hanging plants
Often, hanging plants are in smaller pots than those that sit on shelves or the floor. This, combined with higher temperatures and light levels will mean that your hanging plants will need to be watered more often. Whereas a large plant in a foli8 coir pot can often last a few weeks between watering, hanging plants will need checking weekly.
The best way to water your plants that are hanging is to take them down and water them on a secure surface such as a table or kitchen worktop. Trying to aim water from the spout of a watering can into a small pot that you cannot easily see into is asking for trouble. Once you have your plants secure on a flat surface, water them as you would any other houseplant.
Our kokedama-style plants should be watered from the top - don’t try and soak the outer pots in water, as they are waterproof, and the plants sit inside a liner in the pot.
Buy hanging plants for your home
If you would like to add hanging plants to your home, we've listed some examples of our bestselling hanging plants and pots below. Simply click on the images to discover more about each product. Or, visit our hanging plant shop to see all items in stock.
By Kenneth Freeman
<main image credit from top of post: Tara Winstead, via Pexels>