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How To Hang Houseplants From Your Ceiling, From An Expert

Last updated on October 29, 2021
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Houseplants have taken over floors and windowsills worldwide. And now, they're moving to our ceilings. Hanging houseplants is a fun way to draw the eye upwards and add more greenery to your space without taking up square footage.

Want to hang a plant from your ceiling but unsure how to get started? Here's your step-by-step guide.

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Step 1: Choose your plant.

While most greenery can be hung up, you don't want to go with a plant that is too large, heavy, or fast-growing—as it may break its pot. Trailing houseplants tend to be best for hanging pots, as they'll grow a dramatic trail of leaves.

If you're looking for a houseplant to hang in a darker area, Rebecca Bullene, the founder of biophilic design shop Greenery Unlimited, loves ZZ plants, pothos, and Devil's Ivy. For bright-light varieties, she's partial to the Philodendron Birkin and Snake Plant.

Whatever plant you choose, make sure it's one you really enjoy looking at. "When plants are sitting low on the floor, you kind of have to look down to see them. When you hang up a houseplant, all of the sudden it's in your field of vision all the time," Bullene says.

Step 2: Choose your pot.

First and foremost, you'll want to choose a pot that has a drainage hole that allows water to escape. If water begins to pool in your plant's soil, it could cause destructive root rot. If a pot doesn't have a hole, you can also keep your plant in its plastic pot and place that inside of the decorative one.

Reserve small decorative pots for plants that are slower to grow and don't require much water, like air plants, jade plants, and other succulents.

"The smaller the vessel, the smaller the soil mass, so the less water it can hold onto," Bullene explains. "Any cascading plant that can go one to two weeks without water would also be okay."

On the other hand, if you're going for a large and lush vibe, you'll want to look for a larger pot that can store more water and accommodate root growth. "If I'm displaying a pothos or monstera, for example, I'll use a vessel that's at least 8 inches," she says. Check out a list of our favorite hanging planters here.

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Step 3: Choose your location.

Next, you'll want to scout out a location in your home that has proper lighting for your plant.

Spots to go for:

Placing plants in front of windows can make your space feel more private and lead to epic golden light shadowing.

"When that sunset light is coming in and you get those leaf patterns on the walls, it really makes a space feel homey, comfortable, and lush," Bullene says.

And if you're trying to make a big visual impact in a smaller space, hanging plants in staggered couples or trios is also a nice approach.

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Spots to avoid:

You never want to hang plants above furniture that people sit on. "Subconsciously, it can make us feel uncomfortable to have this big thing hanging over our heads," says Bullene. "It's one thing to hang them over a table, but it's another to put them directly over a chair. I say to keep them in corners or in front of windows."

Step 4: Put a strong anchor in your ceiling.

While lightweight (1-2 pound) plants should be fine hanging from a small hook and screw, most will require a larger anchor that can hold 25 to 50 pounds, Bullene cautions.

For some context, she says an 8-inch hanging basket generally weighs about 8 pounds when you first hang it up, but when it's fully saturated and starts to grow, it can get heavier.

If you're wary of putting a hole in your ceiling, you can also hang houseplants from fixtures like ceiling rods. Just make sure they're strong enough to support the extra weight.

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Step 5: Hang your plant.

Now, all that's left is to place your plant in its pot and hang it up.

Before you do, make sure your hanging pot has strong enough string. Bullene has seen ones that are too thin degrade and break after all that exposure to water and sunlight.

If you're using a hanger with metal fixtures, make sure they're galvanized or coated in vinyl. "They should be watertight," she says. "If you see something starting to rust, that's probably a cheap manufacturer not thinking it through."

You can also make your own hanger out of thick macrame—an approach that gets Bullene's stamp of approval: "I think macrame hangers are a great choice because you can put any planter into them too."

Step 6: Take care of it.

Once your plant is hanging in its new home, you can take care of it like you would any other plant: Get to know its watering needs and light preferences and don't forget to dust off its leaves and give it some fertilizer every once in a while.

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The bottom line.

Hanging houseplants is a fun way to draw the eye up and add some more greenery to tight spaces. Most small and medium houseplants can do great in hanging planters—you'll just want to make sure they're supported with a strong hook and placed away from sitting areas. Care for them like you do your other houseplants and you'll have a layered indoor jungle on your hands in no time.

Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.