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How to: declutter your pots


An old bakers shelf gets pots up to eye-level. Photo - Luisa Brimble

We had a problem. As inveterate plant collectors we just can’t help bringing home cuttings of interesting plants from friends and fellow plant-lovers. 

Our enthusiasm had resulted in an unlovely clutter of pots on every bare surface. Something had to be done, and we’re thrilled with the results.  

Here are our tips for turning Plant Lovers’ Clutter into a pleasing display.

Shelve it

Getting pots up off the ground and grouped onto shelves is a simple way to reduce the clutter and to bring tiers of interesting plants to eye level. Timber shelves, metal shelves or wall shelves are all options. Handy-people might like to build their own; we turned to Ebay where we found this terrific vintage baker’s shelf. Check Gumtree and Ebay or go old school and hunt up outdoor shelving options at local garage sales, or through the local paper.


Style it

While little flowering plants look fabulous displayed on shelves, our fascination is for the quirky - some might say ‘ugly ducklings’ - of the botanical world. Plants like bromeliads, rhipsalis, tillandsia and succulents with great foliage that drips, twists, spikes and waves. Most of these plants grow happily in free-draining gravelly mix, while the bromeliads are happy in cheap pine bark. (Find more information on using these types of plants at

To style your shelves place plants with opposing colours, textures and habits next to each other to provide contrast and plenty of visual interest.


Water it

Position shelves for the light conditions required by the plants in your collection. Ours like dappled shade. We give them an occasional squirt with the hose. An annual sprinkle of slow-release fertiliser will keep them happy. 


Text: Linda Ross 

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Author: Linda Ross