The Partnership Of Vines And Windows

Vines and windows just naturally go together; each helps the other to brighten a room and give it a garden air. And most windows are so light and bright, you’re not limited to the trustworthy foliage vines. You can have flowers. And you have a wide, wide variety of vines to choose from. Even a shaded window is the best place to display some sun-loving plant you’ve grown to full flower in other, more suitable quarters.

A single hanging container displayed at eye level – a luxuriant tuberous begonia or fuchsia spilling cascades of glowing flowers; the silver-patterned, plum purple Cissus discolor; or the brilliancy of an ivy geranium – will stop visitors in their tracks. Or use a matching pair of wall brackets, one at each side, to soften the straight lines and sharp corners of the window frame, with a flowering or foliage variety that drifts down or climbs up the casing. Or set a fast-growing specimen like velvety Cissus in an urn on the floor at one side of the window, and let it scramble up cords strung inside the frame.

Use vines to unify and frame a group of potted plants in a window garden, or to tie two or more windows together. Replace an old-time bay window with floor-to-ceiling glass, and arrange plants for an eye-catching focal point in living or dining room. Or install a window greenhouse – ready-made or do-it-yourself – and arrange vines to frame it inside or dangle from the shelves.

When plants are to inhabit a window for some time, select varieties according to the cultural conditions they need and you can provide. There are vines that will thrive in almost any combination of temperature, sunlight or shade, and humidity. Then look for the decorative qualities that suit your setting – size, leaf texture, color, contour, and method of climbing or dangling (some vines will do either or both). Small vines of a delicate nature are best in small windows in small rooms. Rough, pebbly leaves show up best against a smooth wall. The color of flowers should not fight with the wallpaper or rug, or make the area look “busy.”

Above all, try something new and different – the garden annuals, for example. Plant seeds of morning glories or thunbergia in pots, and let them fill or frame the window with flowers. Fill a basket with a sweet potato; or find some of the colorful new tropical foliage vines; or see what you can do with a bougainvillea. Or adapt some of the following suggestions.

Attach a series of brackets of the same design up each side of the window – a different dangling plant in each pot, or all the same variety to connect the containers into one frame.

In a small recessed window of an old farmhouse I saw a quaint garden of potted plants. A made-to-size metal tray on the sill held a layer of moist peat. Small baskets with small-leaved ivies were accents at the side.

Like a “bead curtain,” hoyas will climb cords strung up a sunny window. Ceropegias will look the same, dangling down.

informal composition calls for one vine and container of proper proportion and style at one side of the window. The weight of the untrimmed area at the other side achieves balance.

An airy arrangement of small, softly dangling plants like some philodendrons on shelves set into a high window where stairs turn at a landing is a delightful surprise in an otherwise difficult, drab stairway.

In a large window, hang a “chandelier”–a large basket in the center, and several smaller ones around it.

Create a vertical line with several small baskets strung together, one under the other.

There are plenty of better-known window-garden vines and hanging plants, by also first choose, according to the amount of sunlight the plant needs and you can provide, and then according to other cultural requirements like temperature and humidity.

Kent Higgins frequently contributes to The more you know the better decisions you can make, like the topic of philodendrons.

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