5 trailing houseplants and how to care for them

5 trailing houseplants and how to care for them

Trailing plants aren’t just for outdoor hanging baskets and planters. Used imaginatively, they can create a stylish haven indoors too – but you’ll need to pick the right plants for the right space.

And don’t think ivy is the only option. There are so many other plants which can be combined or used as stand-alone statements to provide architectural interest and colour to a room.

Green and flowering plants, like columnea and cissus, reinforce the sense of a big change of season, allowing the light through and muting the stimuli from outdoors, according to plant experts The Joy Of Plants (Thejoyofplants.co.uk).

Here are some ideas for great trailing and hanging plants, whether you want to just let them drape from a shelf or suspend them in planters from the ceiling or a rafter…

1. String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) (iStock/PA)
String of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus) (iStock/PA)

Also known as string of beads, this eye-catching plant produces strands which bear pea-like leaves, although it is fussy about watering, only preferring to be watered when the top 2cm of the compost is dry.

Plant it in good potting compost in bright, indirect light. If you want to increase your stock, cuttings of this plant will root easily when pinned to the surface of a pot of cactus compost. Keep temperatures above 10C in winter.

2. Burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum)

Sedum morganianum (iStock/PA)
Sedum morganianum (iStock/PA)

This rich succulent, which produces thick stems of blue-green leaves that look like plaits, needs gritty soil and good drainage, sunshine and protection from extreme cold temperatures to thrive.

If you’re lucky, in summer, small clusters of pinkish red star-shaped flowers may appear at the end of the stems. Don’t overwater it, especially in autumn and winter, and avoid putting it in a bathroom or steamy kitchen because it won’t like the humidity. In summer, ventilate the room from time to time by opening a window to allow it some fresh air.

3. Rhipsalis

Rhipsalis (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)
Rhipsalis (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)

There are many varieties of this cacti, which will happily trail over pots and down walls if put in the right spot. Unlike other cacti, it’s not a prickly plant, instead having what almost looks like a mop of hair. It needs plenty of light but not direct sunlight, preferring dappled sunlight.

The mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) is the perfect cactus for the bathroom, favouring humid conditions. It will need watering but don’t let its roots sit in moisture. White flowers appear over the summer, followed by berries.

4. Climbing fig (Ficus pumila)

Climbing fig (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)
Climbing fig (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)

The climbing fig, or creeping fig as it is also known, is an evergreen self-clinging climber with beautiful heart-shaped leaves. If there’s nothing to hold on to it will grow over the edge of the pot, giving you an attractive hanging plant, or train the tendrils along a shape to allow them to climb across a wall.

The plant evolves over its life: a young climbing fig has small leaves, while the leaves on a more mature plant are larger.

According to The Joy Of Plants, it likes plenty of light but not full sun. Don’t place it over a heater or in a draught, and once it’s in place don’t move it because it doesn’t like change. Cut the stems back if they become too long.

5. Ceropegia (String of hearts)

A relaxing atmosphere is strengthened by hanging plants, including ceropegia, with its strings of heart-shaped leaves. Again, don’t overwater it because its skinny roots will rot. The best thing to do is to let this plant dry out in between waterings.

Place it in a sunny spot and new strands should grow in the direction of the light. Trim the straggly bits to keep it tidy, as they can grow to 1.5m long.

Combine ceropegia with other trailers (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)
Combine ceropegia with other trailers (Thejoyofplants.co.uk/PA)

Pair it with tradescantia and rhipsalis in pastel-coloured knotted cloth and light pots. This enables them to extend and allows the leaves’ various shades of grey and green to create fantastical veils. Just what you need to get through the darker days in a cheerful mood.

More on this topic

Home of the Year offers a good excuse for a bit of good-natured interiors voyeurism Home of the Year offers a good excuse for a bit of good-natured interiors voyeurism

Under the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctionsUnder the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctions

Auctions: Sale full of eastern promiseAuctions: Sale full of eastern promise

Consider this: Meet Helen JamesConsider this: Meet Helen James

More in this Section

Reviews: Gil Scott-Heron, Moses BoydReviews: Gil Scott-Heron, Moses Boyd

Design/Life: Meet interior designer Emma KellyDesign/Life: Meet interior designer Emma Kelly

GameTech: Get ready for the new XboxGameTech: Get ready for the new Xbox

Eanna Hardwicke: Cork actor about to burst onto the big screenEanna Hardwicke: Cork actor about to burst onto the big screen


Latest Showbiz

The messages were ‘accidentally’ disclosed to the defendants by the actor’s former legal team, a hearing was told.Text messages ‘very damaging’ to Johnny Depp’s case against The Sun, court hears

The Canadian music star has also revealed why she has released a cover of Chris Isaak’s 1990 hit Wicked Game.Celine Dion admits singing another star’s song while preparing for a show

It will be his first regular TV role.Macaulay Culkin joins cast for tenth series of American Horror Story

The US actress has become a mother for the second time at 39.Orange Is The New Black’s Laura Prepon welcomes ‘bundle of love’

More From The Irish Examiner