Retro house plants – ideas from Troy

Troy – of the Drexel furniture and vintage airplane carry on’s – wants to talk about mid century houseplants. Perhaps some green-thumbed readers have some more thoughts?

Hey Pam,

Here in San Francisco there is a dearth of mid-century residential architecture. This lack, coupled with insane housing prices, is making my goal of finding that perfect little gem of a place very challenging. So lately I’ve been thinking about ways to better incorporate my love of everything mcm into my victorian rental. Apart from the obvious such as furniture and the like, I’m looking at houseplants of the “era” – what was popular during this time? How were houseplants integrated into mcm interiors? pots and pottery of the time? ideas for built-in planters? Thought your readers may have some suggestions. I’m attaching some photos of my own to share some of my ideas.

A few pieces of my Drexel Declaration are shown in a these photos. Still waiting for my dining room set.

Also, I’ve been buying sets of hairpin legs on ebay – various heights. I’m intending to find some nice pieces of wood to make some plant stands and get some plants off the floor. I’m a big fan of hairpin legs (my TV table is an old hairpin leg table, the lamp and plant stand in the euphorbia & cacti photo both have hairpin construction).

I spent a month buying PBN dogs on ebay to create this dog wall in my dining room.

Thanks, Troy, for all the great photos! This is a great starting point for a community conversation – especially as I am no expert on this subject. I do have some thoughts on containers, though, and will pull those together for the near future.

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Comments

  1. Old House Junkie says

    Upon the occasion of my mid-century birth my parents were given a planter. Mom always kept a pothos or devil’s ivy in it and always told me that that was the same kind of plant that was in the planter when she received it.

  2. angela says

    Sorry this comment isn’t really about the plants- the pbns are great, I love the dachshund ones because they match my dogs. I saw a Declaration piece this weekend here in Alabama at a flea mall- it was a dresser where one side had been converted to a tv cabinet… no price but I wanted it bad! How about some chipped Fiestaware pitchers for the small plants- I see those all the time for cheap!

  3. Propagatrix says

    Monstrera, or “swiss-cheese plant”
    Peperomia
    Gloxinia
    Hoya carnosa
    Spider plant
    Dracaena (various spp.)
    Ivy

  4. Nicole says

    Gainey Ceramics planters are fantastic. Simple and beautiful. You can find them at thrift stores (I found 3 the last 2 weeks!) or get them on eBay. Some have hairpin legs too. Nice PBN wall!

  5. June Cahill says

    Love the retro airline bags…I have one from “Varig” -my husband Brasilian and had several family member working for Varig during the 60s-70s…ha, the “good ol’ days” of flying!

  6. says

    I can attest to the fact that the snake plant is almost impossible to kill. Several years ago, my mom split up one of my grandmother’s snake plants among all of us. I carried my piece – almost bare-rooted with just a little dirt clinging to the roots – home in a brown paper grocery bag and put it in my utility room, anticipating planting it in a pot in that room. One thing lead to another and two years later, I “discovered” the plant in the bag, long forgotten. It was still alive, no sign of distress at all! So I planted it in dirt and it did fine!

  7. Shandra says

    I love the idea of a retro house plant discussion! Key elements of your household, such as plants, should always be taken into consideration when you are re-creating a mid-century vibe. I am lucky enough to own an ACTUAL mid-century plant! My step-mom had a pony tail palm in a pot that she took to college with her in the late 60′s and has owned ever since! I have pics of this plant in her groovy ’70′s apartment and all of the homes she has owned since then. My step mom passed away in ’05 and I am proud to say that I still have her mid-century plant alive & kicking with me today! Yeah mid-century plants!

    • pam kueber says

      Yes — We have written about Architectural Pottery before — when writing about Lagardo Tackett. Do you work with them, Lisa? You should advertise here!

      • Lisa says

        No, I’m just an enthusiastic fan (of the pottery AND Retro Renovation)! I agree that this would be a great place for them to advertise!

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