Hanging plants are the houseplants of the month for September 2016
Perplexing with their shape, surprising with their position: hanging plants are ideal for lending an extra dimension to a room at an exciting height.
The sky’s the limit
It’s easy to create unusual perspectives in a space using green and flowering hanging plants. They’re a surprising element at heights where you would not usually expect to see greenery. And that fits in well with the current style trend for semi-transparent materials and plants with an unusual look. The foliage provides calm whilst letting light through at the same time. The shape of the plants is often almost extra-terrestrial. The flowers verge on the surreal, and the leaf markings are reminiscent of the Milky Way. Flowering hanging plants thereby contribute to the feeling that anything is possible, including creating a completely different world indoors. Play with mirrors and coloured spotlights to create a green planetarium vibe. There are a number of examples of hanging plants here, but obviously there are many other options. You can find a wide range of whimsical shapes, exciting fronds and curving leaves at your local garden centre or florist which will help beautify your home.
Green, warm and exciting
The accompanying materials should appeal to the imagination. Think of eye-catching shiny pots, inlaid with semiprecious stones or crystals, or hangers made from cord or metal with a colour-changing finish that constantly change in the light. These kinds of elements fit perfectly with the colours of the houseplants of the month, which vary between all shades of green, with purple, red and pink. These colours appear both in the hanging plants and their fantastic flowers. To create the most impressive and surreal effect hang various flowering hanging plants together at different heights.
The first thing you notice is the fanciful, unique layered wealth of foliage which tumbles lavishly on all sides. As if that was not impressive enough, Aeschynanthus also produces dark red flowers which are hidden in almost purple cylinders. Unusual and a little mysterious with a touch of drama. Aeschynanthus likes a light position, but prefers not to be in direct sunlight. Watering once a week is sufficient in the winter, twice a week in the summer. Generally it’s better to give slightly too little water than too much.
- The name is pronounced ‘Eskinántus’.
- Aeschynanthus is also called the lipstick plant because of the eye-catching red flowers.
- This plant requires slightly more water when it’s flowering and in a very light position.
- In the wild the plant grows in Malaysia, where the vines can reach a length of a metre and a half.
Tillandsia usneoides’ fabulous grey veil lets through light, but at the same time blocks out all dazzle from outside. Highly decorative, perfect for partial reveals and playing with dimensions. This plant prefers a light spot, but not in full sun. This tillandsia has no roots and absorbs water and nutrients through special scales on the narrow curled leaves. Mist twice a week with soft water, preferably rainwater. If the plant has not dried out again within four hours, use less water for the next misting.
- Tillandsia usneoides is also called Spanish moss.
- The flowers are not particularly impressive, but do have a lovely fragrance.
- In the wild Tillandsia grows from the southern United States to Argentina on tree trunks, and sometimes even on power lines.
- According to an American Indian legend, Tillandsia is the hair of a princess who was murdered by enemies on her wedding day. The heartbroken bridegroom cut her hair off and hung it in the tree, and the wind spread it across the land.
Green Rorschach test
Twisting stems and flowers with a bizarre shape; Ceropegia woodii quickly gives the impression that you are looking at something extra-terrestrial. The stems are as thin as wire, the heart-shaped leaves hanging off them like lucky charms, and the flowers are reminiscent of an open lantern, hence its nickname of lantern flower. The foliage has a fantastic grey-green pattern with precisely the splashes and watery patterns that fit with the current mysterious style trend.
- Ceropegia woodii can tolerate either a light spot or partial shade. Water moderately; the pot soil can dry out a bit between waterings.
- Ceropegia woodii is native to South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, and has been known since 1881.
- The name derives from ‘keros’ (wax) and ‘pege’ (source): The names given by Carl Linnaeus, who thought that the flower resembled ‘a wax fountain’.
- In the wild the flowers act as a trap for flies, which provide the pollination.
Natural work of art
Tradescantia grows vigorously and fantastically, with pointed leaves which can contain a hint of pink or purple, but also silver and gold. The flowers are ultramarine, white or pink. It’s a fantastic living material for combining with a mirror to create an infinite effect. Water moderately, avoid standing water, soil can be left to dry out slightly between waterings. The variegated varieties should be in a lighter spot in order to prevent the leaf from reverting to green.
- Tradescantia is also known as Wandering Jew.
- John Tradescant was a gardener who was employed by the English King Charles 1.
- Tradescantia is native to the Americas, from southern Canada to northern Argentina.
- If the edges of the plant’s leaves turn brown, the humidity is too low.
This star of the Seventies is making an enormous comeback as a green curtain with innumerable tiny leaves which are reminiscent of needles. Asparagus looks light and airy, whilst at the same time soft and elegant. It is one of the few hanging plants which grows upwards first and only then start hanging in high curves. The light structure of the stems and foliage makes it look like it’s floating on air. Asparagus does not like direct sunlight, but it does prefer a light spot. Water regularly, avoid standing water and mist once a month.
- Asparagus looks delicate, but can grow so quickly that the roots break the pot.
- Watering is a delicate affair with this plant: the pot soil can dry out a bit, but if it gets too dry you will have a brown cloud in your home very quickly, so be careful.
- The plant rarely flowers, but if it does bloom the tiny flowers have a heavy, jasmine-like fragrance.
- Although the ornamental asparagus is related to the vegetable, no part of this plant is edible.
Wild & messy
Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, albeit one without spikes. It grows rapidly, with long tendrils hanging down. Dark green at the top, somewhat paler at the ends, great for exciting peepholes. It prefers a light spot, can tolerate direct sunlight but can also cope with less light. The soil can dry out a bit between waterings. If Rhipsalis is hanging in the sun, it will need more water. If the tendrils grow too long, you can easily cut them back.
- Rhipsalis is one of the better air-purifying plants to have in your home.
- Native to rainforests in Central and South America, Africa and on a few islands in the Indian Ocean.
- The plant is also known as coral cactus: there are over 60 different species.
- The name is derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘wickerwork’ – a reference to the plant’s appearance.
Cissus has beautiful green leaves with serrated edges and tendrils which can hang beautifully, but can also climb cheerfully up a hanger. Ideal for anyone who wants to create surprising effects at height. This hanging plant is a member of the grape family and produces attractive fronds. Cissus can be hung in direct sunlight or partial shade, and is able to cope with dry air. Do not allow the soil to dry out, but avoid standing water, since the roots cannot cope with it.
- Cissus comes from the Greek word ‘kissos’, which means ‘climber’: as well is hanging beautifully, the plant also climbs very well.
- In the wild grow primarily in the tropics.
- The plant is also known as grape ivy.
- Cissus grows upwards from the pot and curbs down in arches; it is an attractive voluminous hanging plant.
Cylindrical bright red flowers and bizarre shapes, growing on slightly strange straight stems with small heart-shaped leaves, which in turn have purple hearts. Anyone looking to achieve discombobulating effects should get a Columnea. Without flowers the plant has a calming effect on its surroundings, which makes the appearance of the eye-catching flowers almost surprisingly. The pot soil may dry out slightly between waterings. In the jungle the plant grows below the canopy, so indoors is best hung in partial shade. It can tolerate a couple of hours of light, but not full sun.
- Columnea is named after the 16th century botanist Fabio Colonna (in Latin his name was Fabius Columnus).
- The plant is native to tropical America and the Caribbean
- The unusual shape of the flower is matched to its natural pollinator: the long, thin beak of the hummingbird fits into it perfectly.
- The plant combines beautifully with Aeschynanthus: they look a bit similar, yet not.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 29 August 2016