Interiors: How to create beautiful displays with hanging plants

Ivy and moss in a vintage pot

Ivy and moss in a vintage pot - Credit: Archant

West Hampstead ‘balcony gardener’ Isabelle Palmer demonstrates how to make simple but gorgeous hanging plant displays in your home.

Spring is my favourite time of year. There is something quite magical about everything coming back to life and the anticipation of the impending summer. With its glory of green and colour washing the landscape, I find it such an exciting time. The nights are getting lighter and longer, the birds are tweeting and my instinctive decorating and gardening bug has resolutely kicked back into action.

So, while the paint charts are brought out again and I ponder my next colour foray, I’m planning a little distraction. My focus is inside as I’m not quite ready to dedicate myself to my balconies, but I don’t see any harm in adding more green touches indoors as a pleasant distraction.

I love the idea of hanging baskets and plants. While they are often a familiar sight adorning the front of houses, I think they look just as good or even better indoors.

For many they may evoke old fashioned and gaudy geraniums, lobelia, primroses and pansies, but, with a bit of thought, they can be a stunning addition to your interior.

These are a really creative way to display indoor plants and create a fabulous point of interest in the living room above a long table, or displayed in the hallway. This arrangement features lush green, trailing ivy (Hedera) and busy Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniesis’). Why not try herbs to give yourself an indoor herb garden?

If you don’t have any outdoor space, hanging baskets can also be a small substitute for having your own mini garden.

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The baskets I use here are readily available in garden stores but there are a few different sizes, so pick the one most suited to where you’re planning to place it.

I would say go for the biggest container you can fit there.

How to plant up a basket

As you want to retain as much water as possible to cut down watering I usually use a water retaining compost. There are many of these on the market. Some are labelled as suitable for tubs and baskets so use one of these if in doubt.

Another option is to buy some water retaining granules that you can add to any garden compost. See the instructions on the back of the packet for how much to use.


Insufficient and excessive watering are among many reasons a plant might fail, so check out the water requirements for your plants and always ensure you group plants in a container that require the same amount.

To avoid any damage I normally water the baskets outdoors just in case, but if not just be vigilant not to over water and damage any floors and furniture.

The other hanging pots such as the vintage and macramé won’t need to be watered outside but just be careful if they don’t have drainage holes that you don’t over-water and drown the plant as the water can’t escape.

To evaluate watering, submerging your finger an inch deep or so into the container soil should reveal a general sense of soil moisture. If it’s dry then water; if it’s moist, hang off for a couple of days.

Where should you hang your basket?

I prefer to hang mine close to a window, which keeps the plant happy, but they will do well as long as you site the plant in conditions similar to its natural environment.

The bathroom is a great place for house plants thanks to the humidity and warmth and, if coupled with a bright sunny position, is great even for tropical plants.

Ivy can grow in more shade so it’s not essential they have a lot of sun. Hanging plants can also provide a distraction in front of the window to block unsightly views.