Floor plants — artificial or real — are everywhere in senior living communities. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever stepped foot inside a community that didn’t use these plants in an attempt to brighten empty corners or revive dull feeling areas. The problem is, 9 times out of 10, these plants are either totally overused or not maintained properly. And, because of this, floor plants are one of the top items that I end up throwing away during a renovation.
We think that floor plants are beautiful and, when used and cared for properly, serve a purpose. But, below are a few things to consider when deciding to make use of floor plans in a senior living community.
Don't Use Them in Dementia Care Communities
There are several reasons for this. First, the pots can resemble a garbage can, so trash is often thrown into them by residents. Second, they can end up as a hiding spot for small items. People with dementia sometimes have a desire to hide personal items because they think someone will take their things. Lastly, they are frequently mistaken as toilets. Since many men used to urinate outside, the tree can cue them to being outside and it can appear as a logical place to “go”.
A tree should help fill a space, not completely overtake it. A sign that a tree is too large is if its branches or leaves hang over furniture pieces, preventing anyone from sitting in areas adjacent to the plant. Branches shouldn’t make contact with walls, ceilings, or furniture. Conversely, using a plant that is too small calls attention to the still unfilled area and defeats the purpose of using the plant to fill the space.
Keep Floor Plants Clean and Healthy
Take a few moments to check the pots are free of garbage and wipe down leaves with a wet cloth. A plant that looks dusty and ignored will be an unsightly part of your space. Remove any broken limbs, ripped leaves, or if necessary, get rid of the plant entirely if it is too damaged. For real plants, be sure you are caring for the plant based on its species and that it gets the appropriate amount of water and sunlight.
Use a Variety of Plant Species
Even in your home, variety is the spice of life — having only one type of plant gets boring and repetitive. Ficus trees have become the standard, but we suggest incorporating a few different varieties, structures and textures to make your space feel more inviting — currently we’re loving fiddle leaf and palm trees.
Purchase a High-Quality Floor Plant
The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ rings especially true when dealing with artificial plants. More expensive plants are typically of higher quality and more realistic looking in color, texture, and form. It is totally worth making the investment, spending a little more and getting a product that truly is beautiful and will last a long time.