Grow Your Own Jungle Canopy With the Best Indoor Hanging Plants
Things are looking up.
Updated Oct 12, 2018 6:39 AM
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Design is all about levels: Your furniture and accessories should have a variety of heights to send the eye on a lively journey around the space. The same is true for your indoor garden, where a range of shapes and sizes helps emulate the exciting diversity of a lush rainforest or arid bushland. To start your personal jungle, think about areas where you can go high and add a hanging plant. This works especially well for small spaces where square footage is in short supply. While technically almost any greenery can be suspended, we prefer types with unique silhouettes that require simple care (because you still need to reach planters to water or mist them). Read on for the best indoor hanging plants, plus expert advice from some of New York City’s top experts on how to keep them happy.
- Best classic style: English Ivy
- Best easy growing: Philodendron
- Best unique style: String of Hearts
- Best no-mess: Tillandsia
- Best low-maintenance: Burros Tail
- Best shower buddy: Bird’s Nest Fern
- Best for propagating: Spider Plant
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Sunlight: Before you pick a spot to station a new hanging plant, take a moment to analyze your sunlight situation. Plant doctor and consultant Maryah Greene recommends waiting for a bright, sunny day and noting the angles the rays enter the room. If you’re facing east or west you’ll get direct light in the morning or in the evening. If you have south-facing windows, you might get direct light all day, and if you’re facing north, your space is probably mostly in the shade. Finally, avoid lopsided growth by rotating your planter regularly so every shoot and bud gets equal attention from the sun.
Watering and care: Drainage holes are a great way to prevent overwatering but can cause dripping if your planter is suspended. Avoid a mess by watering plants in the sink or opt for an enclosed vessel; Green recommends adding a layer of volcanic rocks or another absorption stone to soak any excess water and avoid root rot.
Planter size: As with any planter, “you’ll want to size up 1 to 2 inches in diameter from the initial grow pot,” says Briana Tedder of Rooted. Greene recommends an 8-inch-diameter hanging planter for a 6-inch pot—anything larger can become too heavy to safely hang.
Our Top Picks
Best Classic Style: English Ivy
While this climbing vine thrives while growing in the woods and on the exteriors of stately buildings, you can bring that same classic look indoors by giving it a hanging perch. Ivy will grow quickly and without too much work if you place it in medium to bright indirect light, let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings, and keep the air on the humid side (especially during winter). While its long vines might be appealing to curious pets, make sure to keep it away, as it is toxic to dogs and cats.
Best Easy Growing: Philodendron
Philodendrons combine an undemanding (and hard to kill) temperament with exceptionally fast growth, making them an excellent choice for new plant parents or anyone looking to fill out their indoor jungle with abundant tapered leaves. Just hang them in bright, indirect light and water when the top inch of soil has dried. If one of your plant’s vines is looking too lanky, feel free to prune it back (with a sanitized pair of scissors). This will encourage new growth, plus you can propagate a new plant with the cutting.
Best Unique Style: String of Hearts
Corazon String of Hearts, Rooted ($45)
With dainty, marbled hearts strung from wiry stems, this vine will bring a delicate charm to your favorite hanging planter. String of hearts should be potted in soil with plenty of drainage (look for a potting mix marked for cacti and succulents). Although it can’t stand sitting in water, it is otherwise easy to care for and fast growing. Place it near a window and let it dry out completely between waterings, and you’ll have several feet of graceful heart chains before you know it.
Best No-Mess: Tillandsia
Tillandsia, more commonly known as air plants, attach themselves to trees and rocks in nature, meaning they have no need for soil. So put that trowel away and look for a glass terrarium or DIY hanger to give your plant the perch it needs. Suspend it in bright, indirect light, away from direct rays and cold drafts. Tillandsia like humid air and should be misted several times a week. If your plant is looking especially dry, give it a soak by submerging it in water for 30 minutes or so.
Best Low-Maintenance: Burros Tail
With a lovely light green color and fascinating texture, this trailing succulent looks like a hanging sculpture and is a good deal more elegant than its equine name would suggest. As with many succulents, you’ll probably do more harm if you give it too much attention. So get it set up in a sunny spot, only water it when it’s completely dry (around once a month), and leave it be. Its nubby leaves are delicate and will fall off if brushed, but don’t worry, you can plant them and propagate new plants.
Best Shower Buddy: Bird’s Nest Fern
This fern gets its name from the way new leaves unfurl from a central rosette-like egg in a bird’s nest. If that weren’t cute enough, you’ll be charmed by the bright green crinkled leaves that start to playfully drape and curl when hung. Like most ferns, this plant enjoys a warm, humid climate and can handle anything from low to bright indirect light (don’t put it directly in the sun). Water once the top inch of soil has dried, and think about hanging near a steamy shower or humidifier.
Best for Propagating: Spider Plant
If you want to turn your home into a hanging garden on a budget, start by hanging the easy-to-grow spider plant. A great unfussy plant for beginners, it can handle a wide variety of environments but is at its best when hung in bright, indirect light and watered when the top few inches of soil are dry. After a while you’ll notice small “spiderette” offshoots growing on their own from slim stems. Once these have grown their own 1- to 2-inch roots, you can clip them from the mother stem and place in distilled water to start growing a new plant.
What is the most secure way to hang planters?
It’s important to know what you’re drilling into when installing a hook in your ceiling or a bracket in your wall. Odds are it’s drywall, in which case you should always start with a wall anchor to properly stabilize the weight. Trying to figure out how much your plant weighs? Make sure to weigh it right after watering so it’s at its heaviest.
What are the best places to buy hanging planters online?
Rooted carries WallyGro’s colorful recycled planters, as well as Peach & Pebble’s chic and minimalist ceramic planters. For a high-low look, Greene recommends picking up an inexpensive macramé hanger and pairing it with an artful planter from Little Shop of Soil, a small Brooklyn store that supports local artists.
How long do hanging plants tend to grow?
“Most can grow forever, but it’s totally dependent on upkeep and pruning,” says Tedder. Prune their trailing plants back when the vines start to get bare and leggy to redirect growth and maintain a bushier plant, or let them grow wild and trail them around your room.
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