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Photography by Caitlin Mills for The Design Files; Styling by Annie Portelli for The Design Files; Home of Jono Fleming

It’s time to bring your plant collection to new heights—literally. While it’s true we love the look of a lush pothos hanging off a bookshelf or a pretty philodendron draped in a window, these kinds of trailing plants can also double as wall decor that will give your space a fantastical, cottagecore twist. You just need to train them to climb.

Yes, it’s possible to get your plants to grow upward instead of downward or outward, but they require a bit of guidance. Plant and interior stylist Hilton Carter recommends trying this idea with most kinds of pothos (like silver pothos, golden pothos, or marble queen pothos) or hanging philodendrons such as philodendron Brasil. 

Start by working with a healthy plant that already has long tendrils, and attach those vines to the wall with staples or small hooks. “Over time, it will start to latch on to the surface it’s against,” explains Carter. “These plants love wood and brick but can also work with drywall.” Just know that if they grip to any cracks in your wall, they can potentially cause damage. If the vines seem like they need more support as they get longer, add more hooks.

Where you place your climbing plant is key: Make sure it’s able to get plenty of light, and be aware that its leaves will turn to face the sun. Avoid overwatering and be patient—over time it will grow upward and you’ll be living in a jungle of your own making. 

What you’ll need:

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This story was originally published in May 2020. It has since been updated.