Hanging Houseplants At Home? Level Up With These Pro Tips

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Houseplant Hanging, But Make It Easy: A Beginner's Guide To The Trendy Technique
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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 try it out for yourself but unsure how to get started? You've come to the right place.

10 houseplants that you can hang up.

According to Rebecca Bullene, the founder of biophilic design shop Greenery Unlimited, any greenery that can survive on your floor can also thrive in a hanging pot. That being said, you probably don't want to hang something super large, heavy, or fast-growing.

For inspiration, here's a list of small to medium-sized plants that can thrive in different lighting conditions. If your home has large and/or south-facing windows, you should be able to swing a brighter light variety. Those with smaller windows that receive less direct sunlight will want to stick with the lower-light options.

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Bright light hanging plants:

Low light hanging plants:

  • ZZ Plant
  • Pothos
  • Devil's Ivy
  • Peace Lily
  • Chinese Evergreen

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 the sudden it's in your field of vision all the time," Bullene explains.

Trailing varieties like ferns, pothos, and philodendron will make a more dramatic statement, while contained varieties like air plants are usually more subtle.

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How to hang them.

Now that you have your plant picked out, it's time to grab your step stool and read through Bullene's pro tips on how to hang it:

Step One: Choose the right hanging pot for your plant.

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.

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Step Two: Put a strong anchor in your ceiling.

"So many people just hang up a little hook with a screw end on it. That's fine if you're only putting 1 to 2 pounds of weight on it. But depending on the size of your plant, you should really be getting an anchor that can hold 25 to 50 pounds," cautions Bullene.

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. Here's a wikiHow for those new to ceiling hook etiquette.

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

Step Three: Hang that sucker up! But make sure its string isn't too thin.

In addition to being the right size, your hanging pot also needs to have strong enough string. Bullene has seen ones that are too thin degrade and break after all that exposure to water and sunlight.

Hangers made from metal should be 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 macramé hangers are a great choice because you can put any planter into them too."

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Where to hang them.

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

"I use plants to create a visual obstruction: In one window, I have five hanging planters strung up at different heights. They're all cascading plants, so it almost has the effect of a beaded curtain," Bullene explains. "They're still letting all the light come through while acting as a privacy shade. 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."

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.

Just remember that 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."

How to take care of them.

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.

As long as your hanging pot doesn't have drainage holes, you won't necessarily need to take it off its hanger before watering. (But do make sure you're giving it room to drain another way, maybe with some rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the pot.)

"If you have planters with a hole on the bottom for drainage, you do want to take the whole thing down and water it over a sink," says Bullene.

Summary

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.

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