Outside Inside: Living Arrangements NOT Houseplants

Outside Inside: Living Arrangements NOT Houseplants

 As I’ve men­tioned a num­ber of times before, I am NOT a house­plant per­son. How­ever, I do  enjoy hav­ing liv­ing plants in my inte­rior envi­ron­ment. What’s the dif­fer­ence? A ‘house­plant’ is   intended to live year in and year out inside your home, grow­ing larger and leg­gier every sea­son until you finally divide it to mul­ti­ple con­tain­ers and have even more to take care of.

 The longer a plant lives in your home in this man­ner, the MORE guilt you feel if it dies or out­lives it’s wel­come– and the more get­ting rid of it feels like the betrayal of a fam­ily mem­ber. I’m a Mom– the LAST thing I need is more to feel guilty about!

Thanks to the final projects I needed to com­plete for the class I’m teach­ing at the SNAP! Cre­ativ­ity at Your Fin­ger­tips Con­fer­ence, I was able to put together a cou­ple of fun projects that have been planned for a long time. Yea for deadlines!

No, instead I like to cre­ate tem­po­rary arrange­ments that will stay with us longer than a bunch of cut flow­ers but still with less per­ma­nence than a typ­i­cal house­plant. A few days back, I cre­ated such an arrange­ment using a pot of already-blooming Hyacinths I bought for $4.97 at Wal­mart.  The rest of the items needed to cre­ate the arrange­ment were already on hand as I try to keep the sta­ples avail­able to use and reuse. 

Want to cre­ate your own Spring Bulb Arrange­ment?  It’s really easy if you adhere to the fol­low­ing steps:

 1. “Acti­vated Car­bon”- you can find this stuff in the aquar­ium sup­ply depart­ment at your local “big box”.  It is used in the water treat­ment indus­try to fil­ter and purify water.  It does some­thing sim­i­lar in an indoor arrange­ment.  Any time I use a con­tainer that does NOT have drainage holes, I add Acti­vated Car­bon.  You don’t want to invite the growth of mold and fun­gus.  It seems weird that what is more or less dirty, black char­coal can make things clean but it does.  Side­note: you can­not sub­sti­tute ‘char­coal bri­quets’ for your BBQ for the Acti­vated Car­bon.  They are not AT ALL the same.






Place Acti­vated Car­bon in the bot­tom of the con­tainer. Top with fine gravel (I used aquar­ium gravel because it has a coat­ing on it to keep it shiny at all times and inhibit the growth of ick). Make a ‘well’ in the gravel and plant the bulbs in the cen­ter. Be very gen­tle when tug­ging on roots and don’t touch the roots with your hands if you can avoid it. Fill soil around the plant but keep the necks of the bulbs well above the soil line.

 I also use river rock, in this case Mex­i­can Black Peb­bles, to pro­vide more tex­ture.  The black of the stones helps elec­trify the col­ors of the mosss and draw atten­tion to the inter­est­ing con­trast of greens in the stalks of the Hyacinths.

The pink blooms of the Hyacinths inside echo the pink blooms of my Flow­er­ing Crabap­ple out­side the window!

I gen­er­ally keep a host of nat­ural stag­ing mate­ri­als on hand that I can recy­cle through arrange­ments like the one above.  When the blooms are spent, I will plant the bulbs out­side in my Gar­den where they will con­tinue to use sun­light and water to develop food stores, then the foliage will die back.  Next year, I’ll enjoy these lovely blooms in my Gar­den OR I can dig them when the flower buds appear and repeat the process from this year!  In this way I keep cycling REAL plants through my home but with only the small­est level of ‘commitment’.  I  ”co-habitate” with my house plants rather than mar­ry­ing them!  The scent from these 4 Hyacinths will NATURALLY per­fume my liv­ing room for 3–4 weeks. 

Related posts:

Cherry Blos­som Festival
Cof­fee Table Planter
Hang­ing Air Plant Terarrium


  1. Kristina says:

    Thanks for shar­ing your ideas on house­plants vs. liv­ing arrange­ments. I so enjoyed your pre­sen­ta­tion at SNAP!

    Kristina from http://www.pearlgateway.com {SNAP!}
    I’d love to see you, stop by and say hello!

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