Office Plants Tips & Ideas

The Secret to Successful Mixed Tropical Plant Arrangements

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Spring is in the air and creative ideas are beginning to blossom. What is the perfect gift for a spring holiday, birthday, or work event? A mixed tropical plant arrangement of course! And not just any mixed arrangement, one that will survive and thrive.
Have you ever received a beautiful interior tropical plant arrangement as a gift, and within a month all but one plant has died? We have, and it’s so frustrating. What is the secret to making sure this doesn’t happen and the mixed arrangements you create are successful? Use plants from the same genus. This way all the plants will be more likely to thrive under the same conditions. Following this straightforward rule significantly narrows potential plant combinations and helps you focus on plant options that will stay alive together. For example, you may make an arrangement of cacti and succulents that all require very little water. Or a Ficus arrangement that requires lots of water with some understory plants that can tolerate the same consistently moist conditions. You will get into trouble when you try to combine a Ficus that needs lots of water with a cactus that needs very little. While this combination may be esthetically pleasing, these two plants cannot survive under the same conditions.
What are some other tricks to successful mixed tropical plant arrangements? Purchase the right container. You need a container that is deep enough so that the top of the plant’s root ball is just below the lip (to avoid water runoff), large enough so there is space between the plants (to allow air flow and therefore avoid leaf drop), and sealed or lined (to avoid leakage). Leave plants in their individual grow pots. By leaving plants in the grow pots they come in, roots are contained and they can be watered individually. While this does not completely separate them from one another (because water will still drain into the surrounding soil) this trick will allow you to get away with grouping plants that require slightly different water requirements. Pack soil between the pots so they do not shift, and use decorative moss to hide the containers. Use foliage plants. Forget the flowers and opt for a foliage arrangement. Flowers don’t bloom forever. If you are looking for a long-term arrangement, foliage is the way to go.
There are so many plants with so many different characteristics, the variables can seem overwhelming. Horticultural technicians are trained to know the characteristics of interior tropical plants, and how they behave and interact together. Working with a specialist is the absolute best way to ensure happy, healthy plants in your home and office.

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