The Melbourne business bringing back one of the ’70s biggest trends

Indoor plants black thumbs can keep aliveHow to decorate and style indoor plantsFive house plants you can’t kill
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Indoor plants, the zeitgeist suggests, are having a moment.

Pots of miniature succulents are sprouting on the tabletops of hipster cafes from Sydney to San Francisco; inner-city twenty-somethings are flocking to terrarium classes to create miniature, glass-encased landscapes of ferns and moss; and a profusion of picture-perfect interiors brimming with lush green foliage is showing up on Instagram and Pinterest.

The humble houseplant is enjoying its biggest revival since the 1970s, and this renewed love for all things leafy has resulted in the creation of design-led businesses, from nurseries to florists and botanical-wares boutiques.

Once such company is Melbourne’s Ivy Muse, created by friends Jacqui Vidal and Alana Langan who are, in many ways, responsible for making leafy greens Insta-worthy.

The n business, started in 2014, produces powder-coated steel plant stands, slip-cast plant pots and other homewares for green thumbs.

Vidal believes that the revival of the indoor plant is being driven by the trend towards high-density living in urban areas. “It’s about making your indoor space feel like home, even if you don’t have an outdoor space or big backyard,” she says.

Langan says the popularity of Scandinavian-style interiors, with their emphasis on neutral colours, clean lines and stripped-back simplicity, is another factor.

“Greenery is a great way to soften a look or a room or a space,” she says. “It also reminds us of our connection to the outdoors.”

Ivy Muse’s plant stands draw inspiration from the mid-century versions often spied in interiors of the 1950s and ’60s, but they are modern interpretations designed with 21st century interiors in mind.

Their silhouettes have a contemporary twist and colour palettes range from neutral black, white and grey to bold shades of electric blue and mustard yellow.

At any given time, the business only offers the current and second-to-current collections, and they seek out collaborations with local artisans such as leather-crafter Jess Cameron-Wootten and glass artist Amanda Dziedzic.

Interior designer Juliette Arent, of Sydney-based firm Arent & Pyke, says a “tumbled pot of trailing succulents”, such as a silver falls or string of pearls, or a large pot to showcase a palm or monstera, add to the mood of a room.

“Just as the architecture influences the interiors, the interior and exterior vistas influence the amount of greenery required,” Arent says.

Trends for certain species such as the fiddle leaf fig come and go, but the appeal of the once humble pot plant transcends the vagaries of fashion.

“I don’t think plants can get over-exposed,” says Langan. “They’re like us – all unique – whether it’s a blemish or how the leaves are configured.”

Verdant shades are popular this year for all aspects of the home.

To contrast lush plants, stylists Heather Nette King and Bree Leech splashed on Dulux’s Army Fatigues (opposite) for the paint company’s 2017 trend report.

Dulux’s colour forecaster Andrea Lucena-Orr says the mid-tone green is adaptable and easy to live with.

“This works beautifully with timbers, rich textiles and natural elements including luscious greenery and contrasting decorative pots,” she says.

STYLING INDOOR PLANTS

Think creatively about the shape of the plant. For example, long, trailing plants such as heart leaf philodendrons or devil’s ivy can be placed up high and trained across the wall along wooden wall dots or framed artworks.

Kitchens are a great place for indoor plants because they generally have a good amount of natural light. Good spots to put plants include the kitchen island and/or open shelving, but if you’re short on space there’s always the top of the fridge.

Bathrooms tend to have smaller windows and, as a consequence, less natural light, making it a difficult environment for many species for indoor plants. Spanish moss or air plants can be a good option – but if you’re really limited in terms of natural light, consider a peace lily.

Put your plants somewhere prominent. You’ll get to enjoy them more and your plants will get better care if you see them regularly.

Plants can do a great job at keeping the air clean in your home. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one plant per 10 square metres of living space.