In this article, we will be discussing the best trailing houseplants to have high up in hanging baskets in your home. Sometimes in your own home, you want plants that can be observed at eye-level, where their beauty can be observed.
In a previous article, I talked about what climbing houseplants can be used in the home, so it makes sense to discuss which ones can be allowed to trail.
The colour of the leaves, the beauty of the flowers, all can be seen cascading over the edge of a hanging basket at the corner of the room. Trailing plants are ideal to cover unsightly objects in the room; the electrical conduit, the radiator pipes, that dull, boring corner.
All these can be hidden or brighten up with trailing houseplants. You may not see them often in homes, but if you are looking for something different in the home, then these hanging baskets full of trailing plants will bring an interesting dimension to your home- height from the floor.
HAVE HANGING BASKETS BUT DO NOT BANG YOUR HEAD
You need to make sure that the plants are not in the way, as constantly pushing aside trailing stems, as you are walking through a jungle, can be a frustrating experience. Remember the hanging basket must be positioned in areas where they get the right amount of light for the plants in question.
Plants at elevation can be exposed to more sunlight, as less shadow will be cast upon them. This means that houseplants that do not like bright direct sunlight should not be grown in hanging baskets near windows. Elsewhere trailing houseplants are ideal for conservatories, bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, and even bathrooms for those plants that like high humidity and warm temperatures. This is great for those who are really into their houseplants.
What follows are trailing plants to use in your home. Most of them have colourful leaves but there are flowering plants also.
ASPARAGUS DENSIFLORUS (Asparagus Fern) ‘Sprengeri’
This plant although not a trailer is often found in hanging baskets, where the foliage provides interest, It has arching stems of fine needle-like leaves, where the stems can grow up to 90cm in length.
The plant grows quickly and will get pot bound. To help it to keep it in size, cut up and divide the root ball to propagate. If you keep the pots small rather than repotting, it will keep the plants small.
Grow it in a cool-shaded position, where the plant will do well. Water moderately in summer, sparingly in winter.
CALLISIA ELEGANS (Striped Inch Plant)
This is a plant that has spear-shaped leaves that are closed together and a grasping stem that are green-lined in white, and are purple below. The whole plant is covered in fine hair. Grow this trailing plant in a hanging basket where it can grow up to 30cm high. It is not an attractive plant as it ages, so do propagate frequently.
All you need to do is place several rooted cuttings into each hanging basket. Cuttings can be rooted by standing them in water until roots appear. Grow it in a cool position in good, indirect light. Under these conditions, the leaves develop the best colour and contrasts.
Water to keep the compost moist at all times but less so in winter.
CAMPANULA ISOPHYLLA (Italian Bellflower)
This is a popular trailing campanula that has stems covered in blue or white, starry flowers that appear from summer to autumn. It trails long stems but only grows up to 15cm in height.
As the blooms become spent, it is best to remove them to avoid having a plant full of debris. Occasionally, variegated shorts form, which can be removed and rooted as a cutting. The leaves may be different coloured but the drawback is the flowers are smaller and inferior looking.
Grow it in a cool position, but not too cold in slight shade. Needs room to grow but does not like stuffy rooms. Feed once a month in summer with a balanced liquid fertiliser.
COLUMNEA x BANKSII (Goldfish Plant)
This is a trailer with dark, glossy green leaves that produced beautiful reddish-orange, tubular flower that appear from autumn to spring. These can be followed by pale violet berries. An alternative to grow is Columnea albiflora that has hairy leaves and scarlet flowers with yellow throats that appear from autumn to spring.
To grow this plant, a special growing media has to be made. Use a houseplant compost, mix it with 1/3 of its volume with sphagnum moss, and then add a little crushed charcoal and some bonemeal fertiliser.
Grow it in a warm position in moderate humidity at all times, including winter. Goldfish plants can grow up to 1.2m in length and must be allowed to grow in its allotted space to look its best.
Best grown in hanging baskets, where their beauty can be admired. Keep moist at all time but not waterlogged. An occasional misting to keep humidity high will not go amiss.
CURIO ROWLEYANUS (String of Beads)
This is a trailer that only grows up to 5cm in height. It had a matt-forming habit that has long thread-like stems bearing spherical, green, bead-like leaves. In autumn, scented brush-like flowers appear.
It is an easy plant to look after but it does not like the cold. Grow it in a cool, very bright position. It can even take a little direct sun. Prefers to be watered generously in summer and sparingly for the rest of the year, whilst ensuring that the compost is free-draining. A great looking houseplant to have in anybody’s home.
CYANOTIS KEWENSIS (Teddy Bear Plant)
This trailer has reddish-brown, woolly-coated, small, oval leaves that are green above and purple below. It produces wonderful magnolia flowers.
A plant that does not like wide temperature changes that can cause leaves to drop, so would uneven watering. Grow it in a cool location that is well ventilated. Best grown in a hanging basket in a good light in winter, slightly in the shade in summer, where its beauty can be appreciated.
Water moderately in summer, sparingly in winter. Avoid waterlogging at all cost, as this will cause the roots or lower stem to rot.
FICUS PUMILA (Creeping Fig)
This 1.7m long trailer has wiry stems with dark green, heart-shaped leaves with well-defined veins. The stems look great cascading from a hanging basket.
A very easy plant to grow as long as the pot it is grown in is well-drained. Waterlogging can cause the plant to deteriorate.
Grow it in the cold part of the house in the shade, where an occasional feed with a balanced fertilise is encouraged. Not too much as this cause the plant to grow too rampant.
In hanging baskets it will need frequent watering or the plant will suffer, as it like the compost to be moist at all times.
An alternative is Ficus radicans (Trailing Fig), which is a dainty trailer with cream-edge, spear-shaped leaves having slightly waved edges. It can grow up to 10cm in height but the stem can grow very long.
It is a tricky plant to look after, as it does not like too much light, as direct sunlight, mixed with low humidity and erratic watering, will soon cause the leaves to be shed.
Prefers to be grown in moderate warmth, humidity and shade in a hanging basket. Does not like draughty places at all, so avoid these.
HEDERA HELIX (Ivy)
There are many varieties of the commonly grown ivy and they make fine houseplants. But be warned as they can grow up to 6m in length and can take over a home.
Grow this plant in a cold, draughty and poorly lit place.
Use varieties that will trail to give your home the green or variegated look. To water make sure that the compost is never dry at all but also do not overfeed as this will encourage plenty of unwanted growth.
If your ivy is not looking its best then the likely cause is a hot, dry atmosphere.
Not a difficult plant to look after at all.
SAXIFRAGA STOLONIFERA (Mother of Thousands)
This trailer that grows up to 12cm high has circular, velvety, green leaves with white veining that are purplish below. Little plantlets form on the long red stems that add to the appeal of the plant.
A plant that does not like to be waterlogged, so you need to add extra grit to the growing media to improve drainage.
The form ‘Tricolor’ has foliage that is variegated with yellow and pink mixed with the green. It is not happy in cold conditions and is less vigorous.
Grow it in shady, airy and cool but not cold conditions, not below zero temperatures.
Conversely, do not grow the plant in too much light as this will bleach the leaves colourings and markings. Feed moderately in summer, whilst watering generously. In winter, water sparingly.
THUNBERGIA ALATA (Blacked –Eyed Susan)
This 3m long climber can be used as a trailer. It has large orange, cream or white flowers with chocolate-purple centres. Grow from seed sown on a window sill in early spring.
Pot on the seedling according to how they are to be grown. For one hanging basket use several seedlings, where they can grow undisturbed. The seedlings soon flower quickly and so you can tell which colour you have sown.
Grow it in a cool, airy, bright or slight shade, where the flowers appear from summer to autumn. After the plants have finished flowering, you can dispose of them. A wonderful sight in a hanging basket.
This trailer that has stems that have leaves whose upper surface are green with purple tinting and covered with fine hair.
A cream, variegated form also exist, so you do have a choice. The plant produces showy flowers that are large, up to 12mm across that are purple and have a white centre. The flowers appear from March to July.
Plants can be inserted around the edge of a hanging basket to give a quick effect. Hanging baskets have to be checked regularly to prevent them from drying out, which can cause quick deterioration. Once this happens recovery will be slow.
Grow it in a warm and moderate humidity on good, indirect light. The compost needs to be moist at all times, slightly less so in winter. Misting frequently in summer is also required.
TRADESCANTIA FLUMINENSIS (Wandering Jew)
This popular trailer has spear-shaped leaves and several named forms that have attractive colouring and markings. ‘Variegata’ has white striped, whilst ‘Quicksilver’ has silver stripes and ‘Tricolor’ has pink, green and white stripes.
You should group cuttings in a hanging basket, where it can reach its full potential. Grow it in a cool area with good light to bring out the colour and contrasts. Watering should be sparingly at all time, but never allow the compost to dry out. This will allow the full-colour potential to be fully developed and observed.
TRADESCANTIA PALLIDA (Purple Heart)
This is a very vigorous trailer that grows up to 37cm high. It has lance-shaped, green leaves that are suffused with purple above and red below. It is a very easy plant to grow and can survive any conditions.
Over time the plant can become straggly and leggy. It is advised to propagate frequently from cuttings. Ideally, you should plant 3 rooted cuttings to each 13cm diameter hanging basket.
Grow it in a cool and bright area and it does not mind chilly, draught or wild temperature fluctuations. Will become leggy in too much shade. Water generously in summer, sparingly in winter. One plant that can survive considerable neglect.
TRADESCANTIA ZEBRINA (Inch Plant or Wandering Jew)
The spear-shaped leaves are marked with two silvery bands and a beautiful sheen that are purple below. Other varieties have bright purple colouring below and purple and green stripes above.
An easy plant to look after and if you want beauty in your home then this is the plant for you. Grow it in cool to warm areas in bright, indirect light. Water freely throughout the year, except in cold weather. Neglected plants that have not been watered and lost top growth, will start growing again once you start looking after it again.
In this article, we have discussed some of the best trailing houseplants to have in your home. As you can see you are spoilt for choice, as many colourful plants do exist. They may be grown for their colourful and exotic blooms, or they may be grown for the leaves or both.
If you have an empty indoor hanging basket and you wonder what plants to fill it with, you know have a selection.
You may notice that a lot of plants prefer to be grown in cool conditions and therefore unheated conservatories make an ideal location for these plants. In warm conditions, they often do not do well, but if you want trailers that like warm area very limited plants can be used, as highlighted in this article.
Trailers most certainly do brighten any home.
If you have any questions or comments that you want to give, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy houseplant growing.