Decorating Ideas

Create a Tropical Oasis on Your Balcony or Patio with Houseplants

Balcony with plants and decor

When it comes to decorating outdoor spaces don’t forget to use houseplants. They are a great solution to adding more greenery to your living spaces. The use of houseplants is all the rage for interiors—so why not take them outdoors for the summer, as well?

Jungalow Style

Decorating with houseplants is almost synonymous with “jungalow” style. You’ve probably heard of the term, but what exactly is it? Jungalow is “all about coziness and vivaciousness,” says designer Justina Blakeney, who invented the term. She describes the style as “unbridled and wild contrasts in color, vivacious patterns and a variety of layered textures—greens, botanical prints, textile art, sculptural plants and pops of pink!” Plants are a vital element, but which plants should you use and how should you arrange them to achieve the desired effect?

Balcony without plants

Balcony without plants and decor / Atlantic Gardening Company

Selecting Plants

Use a variety of different types of houseplants to achieve a dynamic effect. Suspend climbers from the ceiling, use tall tropicals as backdrops, and don’t forget to mix in smaller plants for texture. When choosing plants don’t just think about color. Consider plant leaf shape and size to create contrast. Using plants of different heights or planting them in various sized planters or on tables and shelves also creates drama and interest.

In our featured look, we’ve used fiddle leaf fig and areca palm to frame the bistro set and created a backdrop of greenery against the exterior wall of the balcony. Succulents and Dracaena hang from macramé-bound containers, while succulents in our favorite concrete containers brighten up the table. Foliage plants like Begonia and bloomers like Anthurium and orchids add pops of color to the arrangement.

Some of our favorites plants for the Jungalow style are:

-Large: Areca Palm, Fiddle Leaf Fig, Monstera.
-Medium: Aglaonema, Snake Plant, Anthurium.
-Hanging: Begonia, Spider Plant, Pothos, Swiss Cheese Vine.
-Small: Succulents, Cacti, Air Plants, Aloe, Peperomia.

Balcony with plants and decor

Balcony with plants and decor / Atlantic Gardening Company

Taking Houseplants Outdoors

Wait until the last frost (typically around April 1 to April 15 in the Triangle) and then gradually introduce houseplants to their outdoor environment. First place them in a shaded location for a few hours each day, slowly increasing the time outdoors and amount of light they receive each day until they are outside all day. After a few weeks, your plants should be acclimated for the rest of the summer. To bring them back indoors before the first frost in the fall, gradually introduce them back inside in the same manner, in reverse.

Other Elements of Jungalow

Since we wanted our touch of the tropics to be in tune with the Jungalow style, we made sure to choose accessories in line with the other elements of the style. Color is vital to achieve the Jungalow look. The bright color of a Fermob bistro set (available in every color of the rainbow) was the perfect fit, along with blooming flowers and the pink flamingo. Pattern and prints are also a huge part of Jungalow. Look for botanical prints and patterned rugs and throws to accent your outdoor space. Global décor, like statuary and ceramics, is another element of Jungalow that can also be intensely personal and cozy, unique to each person’s style and travels.

Val Engel works at Atlantic Gardening Company and can be reached at [email protected]