Plants displayed in green pots.

Small Foliage Displays

Leaves, as much as flowers, contribute to the attractiveness of houseplants, and you can create some excellent displays using a selection pf small-leaved plants just as easily as the more dramatic, architectural-leaved varieties.

When growing plants with small, fine leaves, you may have to group them together if the plants are natural y small, or still in their infancy, but once they reach full size, they look imposing in their own right. If you browse around garden cen­ters, you will be surprised by how much color and variegation there is in any group of foliage plants that are grown for their leaves alone.

As well as plants with variegated foliage, such as the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) or the Ficus pumila ‘Sonny’ shown opposite, there are a wealth of plants with red, pink, brown, and purple leaf markings. An eye-catching foliage plant that would do well as a permanent planting is the Begonia bowerae, which has beautiful rust-colored leaves with green markings and a bushy habit.

One of the most popular colorful foliage plants is the polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), with its brightly spotted leaves of pale pink. This is a plant that can grow quite big, but as it generally becomes straggly with age, it is best used as a young plant to add interest to a small foliage display. A gooc. ground-cover plant for a bottle garden is club moss (Selaginella martensii), with its fresh green, creeping stems that form a dense mat of foliage.

Another group of small foliage plants that need mentioning are the miniature ferns seen frequently in nurseries. These are baby versions of the bigger, full-grown plants, but when bought as small foliage plants they, too, can look attractive: displayed in a group. The maidenhair fern (Adiantum raddianum) often shrivels and dies in an overheated home, and is especially suited to the warm humidity of a bottle garden.