September 20, 2022

Co-Planting: Why Many Roots Make Light Work

By Andrea Davine
Co-Planting: Why Many Roots Make Light Work

There’s a certain image conjured when thinking about someone’s indoor plant collection. Maybe it’s tidy rows of terracotta; each plant perfectly positioned in the centre of a careful circling of soil. Or maybe it’s the eclectic mish-mash of ceramics collected over years, with plants tumbling out the sides or climbing up the walls. In any case, one typically pictures a single plant, potentially with a budding offshoot or two, in its own pot. However, there are many good reasons why this doesn’t have to be the case! Before we dive into the reasons why you should co-plant, let’s talk about what we mean!

Co-planting is the practice of having different types of plants potted together in one pot using the same soil. It’s important to recognise and group your plants together based on their water and lighting needs - don’t go planting your cactus with your peace lily, or one of them is going to be very upset. This has multiple benefits, both for the plants and yourself, so let's get into it...

1. Co-planting saves space (and money!)
Don’t have room for eight pots? What about four? Cut down on space issues by potting together multiple small plants in a larger pot. Having a tightly packed and dedicated plant space allows you to keep track of all of your plants and make for a gorgeous and dense urban jungle. This, in turn, also saves you money because you’re buying fewer pots and less soil, which means you have more money for plants! Wait hang on-

2. Co-planting is more natural
Plants in the wild form their own pots using their root systems. While at home, you’re the one who decides when they’ve earned more space, in forests they’re battling each other over turf. When a plant gets large and strong, it can push other plants out of the way. Having plants potted together helps to mimic this natural battle, but in a more controlled environment in order to prevent any plants getting strangled by their rivals. Replicating the environment a plant has evolved to thrive within is a pivotal step in growing beautiful and strong plants, which leads into our next point:

3. Co-planting encourages growth
Having a plant surrounded by empty soil can lead to slow and leisurely growth. In much the same way an over-loved tomato plant produces no fruit, your delicately separated philodendrons won’t flourish under a helicopter plant parent! Having plants in competition with each other puts the plant into survival mode, it doesn’t know you’re ready to intervene if things get hairy, so all it can do is put down its roots and take over the space before its rivals do! This results in amazing growth and can be very fun to watch. Place your bets!

4. Co-planting looks beautiful!
Co-planting doesn’t just have to be two similar plants duking it out in the one pot. Sometimes it can be a delicate ground cover planted below a larger ficus. Or maybe a Devil’s Ivy climbing up the trunk of your umbrella plant. Even terrariums are technically a co-planted pot! Seeing a mix of foliage, colours, and flowers all in the one space can be such a feast for the eyes. It’s just like a perfect little chunk of nature, consolidated in one pot.

Don’t delay, co-plant today!