It isn’t that I don’t love pothos for styling a bookcase because I absolutely do. The way it trails down the shelves is wonderful. I just feel that it’s the go-to hanging plant and people, there are so many other options! Switching up the type of plant you use to decorate a shelving unit brings variety in colour and texture and you know what they say about variety right? Spicy. We like spice.
What other plants will drape down a shelving unit in a similar way? Here we go: I’ve decorated my bedside shelving unit with 5 trailing plants and I love how each of them bring their own element to the layout.
String of Hearts
I absolutely adore String of Hearts and this one is epic! It’s touching the floor and I should really cut it back but right now I’m enjoying it’s Repunzel-ness so much. String of Hearts is a fantastic shelf plant because 1) the small scale leaves bring so much texture and 2) they grow so fast that their length will draw the eye up and down the entire shelving unit. String of Hearts is easy to grow as well – see the String of Hearts care guide.
Mini Angel Wing Begonia
You want to talk about texture and interest? This begonia has it in spades! The shape of the leaves is noticeably different and the silver speckles reflect light – you can’t help but focus in on it. I also really love the draping yet angular growth pattern. Begonias aren’t often though of as hanging plants and are often staked up straight, but the Medora or Mini angel wing is perfect as a trailing shelf plant.
Peperomia Rubella isn’t commonly chosen as a trailing plant and that’s because when you find them as small pots in the nursery, they’re usually standing up tall and straight. Give it a year or two of growth and it will topple over and trail. As with other peperomia, it has delicate roots so the trick with these is to not overwater. I just love the red colour on the backs of the leaves as it creates a sense of depth to the foliage. Love this plant!
Much like the peperomia shown above, lipstick plant isn’t usually a choice for shelf decor and that’s likely because it’s often sold in large, hanging pots that are too big for a small shelf. Look for smaller 4″ pots (or ask a friend to share cuttings) that might not be trailing yet and give it time to grow out. You’ll have an incredible hanging plant for your shelves in no time. These are easy to care for and bloom prolifically. This one shown is the wonderfully patterned Black Pagoda lipstick plant but I have a similarly sized Mona Lisa as well that I enjoy just as much.
There are SO many types of hoya out there and while you often see them for sale in smaller pots, they will send their runners out, then the leaves, and be trailing in no time. I love this particular one – Hoya Rotundiflora – but almost any hoya will work on a shelf. The often wild growth pattern of hoya is sometimes corralled on a trellis, but if you let it grow free, a shelving unit is a fantastic home for a hoya.
There you go! 5 trailing houseplants for your shelves that aren’t Pothos! And I didn’t even cheat by going with Heart Leaf Philodendron or Scindapsus. You thought I might didn’t you? I love those plants as well, but there are so so so many other varieties of trailing plants to choose from and all of these are fairly easy to come across and won’t break the bank. There’s no reason to stick with the same old same old when there’s more than one way to decorate a shelf with hanging plants!
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