Photo by Melody

Decorating Houseplants: Donít limit yourself to holiday displays, decorate your plants every day!

By Jill M. Nicolaus (critterologistJanuary 1, 2009

Many of us have decorated a Christmas tree or two or many more. And some of us have been more adventuresome, putting twinkle lights on a lemon tree or hanging small ornaments on a philodendron. But why not decorate your houseplants for every day? Your special plants deserve a little ďbling!Ē

Gardening picture


When you're packing away your ornaments after the holidays, take another look at them. Maybe you have some that could be spread among your houseplants in other seasons. Not every ornament screams "Christmas!" once it's away from the tree with its tinsel.

straw bird sitting on leafy branch of sweet bay treeA family love of the outdoors means that we tend to acquire ornaments with that theme. Bird ornaments are natural candidates for decorating larger indoor plants. I have an old bird from my grandmother that's been in my Ficus every winter for years. Last year, I also added straw birds to my sweet bay. And we found a sweet hummingbird to bob from a stem of my hanging ‘Tiger' lipstick plant. I've had some fun "Hey, there's a bird in your tree!" comments that made me want to keep an eye out for more bird ornaments for my plants. A snowy owl now perches in my Streptocarpella basket.snowy owl ornament made of feathers in center of hanging basket of streptocarpella greenerypaper mache hummingbird ornament perched among stems of green and burgundy striped lipstick plant

Pinecones are wonderful natural decorations that can be hung from branches or tucked around the base of plants. If you have cats that like to dig in potting soil, pinecones or sweetgum burrs may discourage their little paws. Adding just a touch of metallic paint or glitter to the tips of pinecones can make them stand out, but a little shimmer goes a long way unless you're trying for a Las Vegas effect.

Since I also keep saltwater fish as a hobby, I received some beautiful little glass fish ornaments for Christmas one year.white and gold star ornament hanging in green foliage of ficus gold and red glass fish ornament hanging in green foliage of ficusThey were too pretty to put away after the holidays, so they ended up on my Ficus tree along with some small white and gold star ornaments. You have to look closely to glimpse them among the leaves, but the fact that they don't leap out at you is part of their charm. The Ficus pot is also our burial site for deceased finny pets, so these ornaments are doubly appropriate. I drew the line, however, at my husband's suggestion that I put fishie names on the ornaments as memorials.

Choosing a decorative container can help accent many plants, but you seldom seem to get much choice when it comes to hanging baskets for indoor use. I like the practicality of the white or terra-cotta colored plastic pots, but they get a little boring. Adding ornaments or strands of beads to them gives them a lot more personality! beaded blue and clear snowflake hanging from branch of cactus plantI especially like using glass ornaments that catch the light from the window. Sun-catchers can be hung on or near pots for a flash of color.

crocheted snowflake hanging above a basket of variegated spider plantSometimes I go for "pretty," and sometimes I go for humor. My grandmother crocheted and tatted some beautiful snowflake ornaments. I like to include a few among my hanging baskets, as a subtle accent against the greenery. I also have a some sparkly beaded snowflakes that my sister-in-law made. This winter, it tickled my fancy to hang them from my tall cactus plant.

Especially in midwinter when many houseplants seem to be more about foliage than about colorful blooms, it can be a lot of fun to decorate them. Take another look to see if there are some potential multi-seasonal ornaments in your Christmas box. Pull out that box of Mardi-Gras beads and assorted "doo-dads." Take another look at that basket of pinecones you put up on the top shelf. Sometimes "less is more," and sometimes more is more, but it's very easy to add, subtract and rearrange decorations until you have an effect you like.

Play around a little, and have fun dressing up your houseplants after the holidays.

Photos by Jill M. Nicolaus.

  About Jill M. Nicolaus  
Jill M. NicolausBetter known as "Critter" on DG, Jill lives in Frederick, MD, where she tries to fit as many plants as possible into a suburban back yard. The birds are mobbing our feeders lately, so Sunshine Girl and I have a job keeping the Flyby Cafe' open for business! This year, we put out a special feeder just for the squirrels, filled with a seed & corn blend. We still see them acrobatically snatching food from the other feeders, but at least now they let the birds get a beak in edgewise! (Images in my articles are from my photos, unless otherwise credited.)

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