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Northwest Gardening: Vintage Houseplant Haven

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Hellebores, primroses, cyclamens and houseplants celebrate spring when displayed in a vintage suitcase—and mulched with wine corks.

Houseplants and candles in a suitcase
Candles and flowers by suitcase

By Marianne Binetti

Grab a suitcase! We’re headed for spring, and your home deserves a little fun and adventure. I bring home early bloomers, such as hellebores and primroses, and mix them with some potted houseplants to create living landscapes to enjoy indoors.

Later I’ll transplant the hellebore and primrose into the garden. But by using these outdoor plants to add life to my houseplants, I can dress up my entry or even create a front porch display using a vintage suitcase like this one, which I found up in my attic. You can substitute a large basket, metal washbasin or any attic find of your own.

The contrast of the green plants and fresh spring blooms with the aged patina of any vintage container makes this houseplant haven a happy home for indoor plants.

Suitcase and plastic lining

Step One
Gather your materials. This small suitcase is the perfect size for four potted plants and two battery-powered pillar candles, which safely add the romance of candlelight. I choose an early-blooming hellebore named ’Jacob’ that has upward-facing flowers, along with a yellow primrose and pink cyclamen. A draping sedum houseplant goes in the front. A mulch of recycled wine corks covers and hides the rims of the pots.

Step Two
Line the suitcase with a plastic bag. This helps protect your vintage container from water that leaks from the drainage holes of the potted plants.

Flowers in suitcase

Step Three
Arrange the plants, still in their plastic pots, inside the suitcase.
Place the tall hellebore in the back with the shorter plants in front.

Candles, plants and corks in suitcase

Step Four
Place the candles between the potted plants; then cover the rims of the pots with a mulch of wine corks. The corks hide the plastic lining, add to the rustic appeal of the display and help absorb the drainage water. Not a wine drinker? You can purchase corks by the bag at hobby and craft stores.

Did you notice the old postcards displayed amid the plants in the first photo? I found the postcards inside the old suitcase. They date to the 1940s and show scenes of Mount Rainer National Park. Unearthed treasures, like these, deserve to be displayed in a place of honor—just like blooming indoor plants.

(Note: Never leave lit candles unattended.)