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.

  1. Carol says:

    Hello! I have the most AMAZING fiberglass Kimball bullet planter that I love, but my snake plants absolutely despise and die on me, just for spite. The plants look great in the planter, but after a couple of years, the leaves turn to jelly. I think I may have over watered the first one, but my most recent one just passed. I did water it recently, but that seemed to hasten its demise. I live in Los Angeles, not far from the coast, and my house can be a bit damp in the winter. The bullet planter doesn’t have drainage holes. I perhaps should have put stones in the bottom? I don’t think I ever watered it, because the first one died after watering. I was hoping the ambient moisture would have been sufficient. The room gets a lot of light during the day, but the plant was not in direct sunlight. Any suggestions on what may have been the problem? Or another plant species to try? Any suggestions would really be appreciated!

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Carol, perhaps Hip Haven, which sells bullet planters, can help with this question?

  2. Bryan Benoit says:

    I have 2 paint by number paintings that were done by my parents when they first got married in the early 50s, all i was told is that they are very rare, no artist or topic. I can send pictures via email. Would love to know more information about them, thanks Bryan Benoit

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