Plants brighten up home interiors with natural beauty.
By Tanya A. Yacina
The idea of bringing people closer to nature is what inspires Molly Wood, landscape designer and owner of her eponymous, Costa Mesa-based company Molly Wood Garden Design. For nearly 25 years, she and her team have created environments that encourage Orange County residents, including those in Newport Beach, to have a deeper respect for and connection to the natural world around them. She then opened a retail showroom in 2008.
“I grew up surrounded by nature in southern Oregon. I think the changing seasons and my hippie mom had a lot to do with connecting me to nature,” Wood explains. “I worked in a flower shop as a young girl—I loved the experience, but cut flowers are so fleeting. I moved to creating gardens from there long ago.”
The thought of a gorgeous garden typically conjures up visions of lush outdoor spaces, but plants are indispensable additions to a home’s interior, as well. Additionally, the pots, planters and baskets in which indoor plants reside bring a personal touch to the aesthetic in any room, regardless of its size.
“Large homes mean large plants: If you have the ceiling height, use it,” Wood says. “Find a taller tree and use a vessel that gives added height. On a coffee table or counters, use a plant with bold, graphic texture.”
Wood also notes that larger spaces often need bigger pieces of decor that can command the space but also be moved around easily, so lightweight vessels are ideal.
In smaller homes, Wood says it’s important to use a plant and container that complement the space—for example, if the environment is all about subtle yet tonal texture, use a crusty stone pot with a moss mound. If there is a lot of metal and concrete decor in a home, she suggests using a basket with texture to balance it out. Another method is creating a display that has a lot of presence, like a hand-thrown ceramic or carved stone vessel, both of which can make a big impact in a small space.
But whether you live in a studio apartment or a multistory home, the most important aspect of incorporating indoor plants is finding the sweet spots in which they’ll receive an optimal amount of sun. “With house plants, it’s all about light,” Wood says. “A room could have lots of windows, but if the blinds are always closed, the plant will be affected. We love to use all sorts of sansevieria [a succulent also known as the snake plant] because they do not need a lot of attention and will tolerate a lower-light situation. We love trimming up a … dracaena [or dragon tree] to look like it has pompoms at each branch end. They are a great, durable option for low light and are easy to maintain.”
Though not everyone has success with maintaining indoor plants, Wood says the first step to keeping these arrangements alive is to stop saying, “I kill all plants” or “I have a brown thumb.” She advises checking on the plants every week or two, to make sure they are getting enough water (but that doesn’t mean they should be watered again). If a plant is struggling, it may actually be receiving too much water, among other issues depending on the species.
“Don’t stress. If [the plant] … dies, bring your pot back and we can find a beautiful, fresh plant,” she says. “If the plants die within a month, they are not the right plants for you. Always get the name of the plant you are purchasing and do some of your own research.”
Knowing what you’re bringing home is essential to maintaining this beautiful, natural decor. Once you find the right plants for your home, just remember to keep it simple and enjoy the touch of greenery—without even going outside.
These decor pieces will breathe life into any room, from greenery to the pots they reside in.