Combined Effects

Displaying houseplants in groups creates a humid microclimate, which the plants prefer to the dry atmosphere of most homes. The humidity is increased by standing the pots in saucers of wet gravel kept moist by regular watering. Choose plants of contrasting shapes and sizes for the most striking effect.


  • 4 pots of various sizes with saucers
  • Crocks
  • Compost
  • Gravel


  • Lilies
  • Maidenhair fern 
  • Cretan fern
  • Variegated creeping fig 
(Ficus pumila)

1: Place the crocks in the bottom of the pots. Check the proportion of pot to plant.

Picture of Patio Planting

2: Remove the lilies from their plastic container and position in the pot.

Garden Planning

3: Fill gaps around the rootballs with compost, pressing down firmly to avoid any air spaces.

Garden Planning

4: Remove the foliage plants from their containers and plant in the other pots, topping up with compost.

Garden Planning

5: Water the plants thoroughly. Fill the saucers with gravel. Stand the pots in their saucers and position the plants in good light, but away from direct sun. Keep the gravel in the saucers damp, and water the plants when the compost dries out.

Gardener’s Tip: Bear in mind the background of your display when 
choosing your plants. Large architectural leaves and strong plain 
colours won’t get lost against a busy wallpaper, whereas lots 
of variegations and colour are better against a plain background. Plant at any time of the year.