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Carmeon Hamilton has one major rule: “Every space needs plants.” The Memphis-based founder of Nubi Interiors and HGTV Design Star: Next Gen contestant exemplifies this belief in her own indoor jungle, with monsteras, snake plants, and more peeking out from every shelf and surface. She inherited her green thumb from her mother, who decorated her home with long, trailing pothos. When she passed away two months before Hamilton was set to marry her now husband, Marcus, in 2011, the designer found a special way to honor her. “Lots of plants from her ceremony came home with me,” she says. “That was the beginning of the journey.” Now when Hamilton artfully arranges her clients’ decor, she makes sure each room includes something living—and she shares the growth and propagation tips she’s learned along the way. The designer launched her guide to plant parenting in 2020, and she plans to host virtual plant-care classes this year, thanks to the endless requests she gets for her horticultural wisdom. Here, she offers her best advice.

Propagation Station

Hamilton is a big proponent of propagation. “You can easily end up with three times as many plants at the drop of a hat,” she notes. She set up a station in her dining room with a birch lazy Susan from IKEA to make her cuttings easily accessible, so she can check for root growth at a glance. For propagation amateurs, she recommends starting with a pothos, which grows quickly and is pretty foolproof.

Hand-Painted Wall Mural, Carmeon Hamilton; Otago Dining Table, Moe’s Home Collection

“Whenever I leave and come back home, it’s almost like my house greets me on my return.”

Make a Routine

Vintage Stool.

Growing up in Arkansas, Hamilton recalls how her mother would set aside one day a week to properly tend to her pothos—a ritual that Hamilton has embraced in her home. Every Sunday, before her husband and 12-year-old son, Davin, wake up, she has her own plant time: “I water, prune, and have a chat with everybody, making sure they’re okay.”

Find Your Go-Tos

Painting, Frances Berry.

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to what you know—when it comes to greenery, at least. Hamilton always gravitates toward a few tried-and-true plants: pothos, monstera, dracaena, snake plants, jade, and ZZ plants. “They’re all incredibly forgiving and flourish in almost any environment and light level,” she says.

“I stock up on pots all the time, because I know the plants will come.”

Create Clusters

Framed Photograph, Carmeon Hamilton; Taper Holders (similar), Target

Most of Hamilton’s plants can be found in her living room and kitchen, where they get more sunlight and she arranges them in groups. “They feed off of one another when it comes to humidity, carbon dioxide, and the oxygen they’re releasing, so they like being together,” she explains. “And that also helps me make sure no one is left out when it’s time to take care of them.”

Consider Contrast

Limousine Leather Paint, Behr

“Having a very bold background—black or even white walls—creates an environment where my plants can be the star of the show,” says Hamilton. As her love of plants has grown, she’s also come to appreciate the versatility of the color green: “No matter what shade I’m working with, I know plants will look great against it.”

“People see plants in photos and on Pinterest and think: Oh, that would be great decor. But they are living things and need to be treated as such.”

Style Strategically

Vintage Nightstand; Orion Table Lamp, Mitzi; Deva Platform Bed, Lulu and Georgia; Bedding, Garnet Hill; Custom Wall Panel, Carmeon Hamilton. 

“In my childhood home, my mom would not only have plants sitting on certain surfaces, she would pose them—using their vines to accentuate the doorways or wrap around the structure of a bookcase,” says Hamilton. That way the plants don’t just stand out on their own but call attention to the existing features in a room. In her home, no sunny corner is left without a big, leafy plant to fill out the space.

Serengeti Wallpaper, Hygge & West; Art, Carmeon Hamilton; Table Lamp, Walmart

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