Houseplant Mixed Containers 101

Posted on February 28th, 2021

Most people will plant a single houseplant in a pot, but if you really want to up your houseplant game, you should consider combining multiple plants into a single container. Not only does this add depth and visual interest to your containers, but it’s also a really great option if you don’t have a lot of space for containers but enjoy collecting different houseplants. The key is to combine companion houseplants that suit one another.

Choose Like-Minded Plants

As you may have guessed from reading our previous articles, the key is to choose plants with similar light, water, and soil needs. For instance, you wouldn’t want to pair a cactus with a peace lily since you would quickly kill at least one plant while taking care of the other. Something like a cactus and a succulent on the other hand, will be right at home with one another.

To get you started, here’s a few of our favorite houseplants what they can be paired with. Keep in mind that some plants can tolerate a fairly broad range of conditions, so you may occasionally find plants paired with others that aren’t in the same category as below. When in doubt, just ask us!

Water About Every 3-5 Days – Low Light

  • Ferns
  • Calathea
  • Peace lily

Water Every 5-7 Days – Bright Light

  • Croton
  • Crown of thorns
  • Norfolk Island pine
  • Fiddle leaf fig
  • Ficus
  • Schefflera
  • Orchid
  • Ivy
  • Palms
  • Bromeliad
  • Cyclamen
  • African Violet
  • Pilea
  • Spider Plant
  • Begonias
  • Anthurium

Water Every 7-10 Days – Bright Indirect Light

  • Monstera
  • Philodendrons
  • Dracaena
  • Pothos
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Peperomia
  • Rubber Tree
  • Money Tree

Water Every 14-21 Days – Bright Light

  • Snake plant
  • Jade
  • Aloe
  • Kalanchoe
  • String of pearls
  • Cacti
  • Succulents
  • Hoya
  • ZZ plant

Creative Containers

So, once you have an idea of which plants can be potted together, how do you choose an arrangement? This is where you have an opportunity to have some fun and get creative.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we always recommend the tried and true “thriller, filler and spiller” method. Start by choosing a plant with some drama and height (thriller), add in a mid-height companion plant (filler) and then complete the arrangement with a hanging plant that will spill over the side of your container rather than grow upright (spiller). This method works well to give the appearance of a really full arrangement. Just keep in mind the size of your container when choosing the size of your houseplants. You don’t want to have too much excess space, or squeeze plants into a container that’s too small. You’ll also want to think about the mature size and shape of the plants you’re choosing. For example, pothos will trail down the side of the pot over time, but it may not start out that way when you first purchase it.

Another way to plan your arrangements is to consider plant color. Choose contrasting colors (those opposite one another on a color wheel) for added drama or choose analogous colors (those next to one another) for more of a cohesive look. Be sure to factor in the color of your container when planning everything out. There are no hard fast rules here, so play around until you find a combination that you personally like.

Still not quite sure of what plants to choose? You can also consider choosing different varieties of the same plant for your containers. Something like a snake plant or dracaena have a wide range of options that can look stunning when planted together. If you’re still stuck, but want to try a mixed container, just pay us a visit. We’re always here to help!