Can You Grow Houseplants Together – Tips For Growing Companion Houseplants

houseplant companions e1536079416324
houseplant companions e1536079416324
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Liz Baessler)

Houseplants are a necessity for gardeners in cooler climates. Most people simply plant a single houseplant in a pot, but can you grow houseplants together in the same pot? Yes. In fact, multiple houseplants in one container add some extra pizzazz to a room. The key is to combine companion houseplants that suit one another.

Can You Grow Houseplants Together in the Same Pot?

Absolutely, multiple houseplants can be planted in one container. Think about it. In the garden, we regularly combine different plants together. If you’ve ever bought or received a basket of live plants for a gift, you will see that florists often combine several plants. 

There are, of course, a few rules of thumb about houseplant container mixing. Houseplants in one container should share the same growing conditions. It wouldn’t work very well to combine a cactus with a fern, for instance. Many types of succulent plants, however, are right at home with cacti or other succulents.

Benefits of Houseplant Container Mixing

A single lonely ficus in a corner or a hanging fern are nice but combining like-minded houseplants with the ficus or fern makes a statement. The combination becomes a focal point. 

Plants can be combined to accent colors in a room, tall plants can be grouped together to draw the eye upward, different textures and colors add drama, and trailing plants create movement making an otherwise lonely plant a work of art.

What are Companion Houseplants?

Companion plants are those that have similar light, nutrition, and water requirements. As mentioned, it would never do to plant a cactus and a fern together. The cactus likes a long, dry, cool winter dormancy while the fern wants low light and consistently moist soil. Not a marriage made in heaven. 

There are also some allelopathic plants, such as Kalanchoe daigremontiana, that make the soil they are growing in toxic. It doesn’t mean anything by it; it’s just a survival mechanism. Luckily, most houseplants are quite resilient and will pair up nicely together. 

Most of the common houseplants, such as philodendrons, scheffleras, peace lilies, tolerate or even like average light, humidity and water, so could all be combined in a pot. Throw in a dracaena for height and some coleus for color, and you’ve got an eye-catching arrangement. If you can’t seem to find plants with the exact same requirements, you can grow your grouping in individual pots that are nestled in a basket. 

As time goes on and the plants grow, they may need to be repotted and moved to another place, but in the meantime, you have an interesting combination with the benefit of being able to individually water and fertilize. Just remember that the plants need to share the same light requirements. 

Be creative and select different growing habits from upright to cascading, different textures, and different colors. For example, tuck in some annual bloomers for a spot of color, knowing full well that their time will be up at some point, but you can enjoy them nonetheless. Usually, only one tall plant is needed for a combination pot and it should be put to the back center of the container.

Trailing or cascading plants should be planted at the edges of the pot. Think of the tallest plant as the top of a pyramid and plant accordingly around this. Lastly, don’t be afraid to try different combinations, but do a little research first. Even with the best knowledge, sometimes plants, like people, don’t get along and it just wasn’t meant to be.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.