This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

July 1, 2015

Making your house look like a luxury resort, with plants in pots

As a Graphic Designer, one of the things that fascinates me is seeing the things that the average person doesn't really see, but instead feels. A great example of that is seeing big, beautiful pots with healthy plants at luxury resorts.

These two pots, which I am babysitting for a friend, are examples of how to do it right. They are very tall - they come up to my hip, and I have a 32" inseam, are ceramic, and beautifully glazed and textured. They are pretty much works of art in their own right. Planted in them are euphorbia, which is an excellent choice as they have an sculptural quality themselves, never look ratty even close up, and have the bonus of tiny flowers.

Of course, many times people get it wrong, and they're really better off not having any pots in plants at all. And here are the most common mistakes I see all of the time:

• A whole bunch of tiny pots. Don't do that. Not only does it look terrible, but it's difficult to keep plants healthy in tiny pots. The tiny pots are for the nursery, when the plants get home they should be given a larger space to grow.

• Gimmicky pots. Please don't do that. I see that kind of goofball "quaint" stuff for sale all of the time at K-Mart. If you want your house to look like a resort, not a cheap trailer park, avoid the gimmicky pots.

• Not enough potting soil. The potting soil should go all of the way up to the glaze, which on big pots is a couple of inches from the top. Yeah, it always takes more potting soil than you thought, and potting soil always settles. So add more. In the photo on the lower right you can see the inside lip of a pot where the glaze ends. The potting soil should go up to there, no more, no less.

When I visit resorts, I look at the landscaping. I look at the palm trees, I look at the pots, I look at the lighting. That most people wonder what I'm looking for tells me that this isn't common behavior. But I'm looking for all of the things that give that luxury resort feel.
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