There is something beautiful about the spatial lightness that a hanging plant creates in a room. With this project, I wanted to design a pared-down hanging planter, with one simple line of rope rather than the standard hanging pot set-up with several contact points around the edge of the pot. The ferns look less contained this way and can grow freely. Here, essential materials—rope, clay, and a maidenhair fern—combine for a minimalist display.
- Ceiling hook and anchor
- Wall hooks (optional)
- Ruler or tape measure
- Several lengths of ¾-in-/2-cm-thick Manila rope
- 15-in-/38-cm-long agg tooth saw or hacksaw
- 1½-in-/3.5-cm-wide PVC piping
- Weathered terracotta pot, 10 in/ 25 cm high with an 8-in-/20-cm-round opening
- Drainage stones
- Activated horticultural carbon
- Soil scoop or spoon
- Potting soil
- Two maidenhair ferns
- 5-ply natural jute twine
1. Install the ceiling hook and anchor, and the wall hook if desired. Measure the distance from desired bottom of pot to ceiling height (remember you’ll want to be able to easily water the plant), add the distance from ceiling hook to wall hook including drape (ours adds 1 ft/30 cm of slack), and distance from wall hook to floor. Add approximately 30 in/75 cm to allow for the knot below the pot and the coiled rope on the floor. Cut rope to approximate size with the pocketknife (you can always trim off some from the end later if need be).
2. Cut a length of PVC pipe 2 in/5 cm shorter than your pot with an agg tooth saw.
Note: The rope is threaded through a length of PVC piping within the pot to protect it from disintegrating in the soil. Choose a width of rope that will be able to comfortably pass through the drainage hole of your pot, and plants that are bushy enough to conceal a part of the rope.
3. Holding the pipe in place above the drainage hole, begin to prepare the pot for planting. Place about 1 in/2.5 cm of stones at the bottom of the pot for drainage and sprinkle a light layer of horticultural carbon over the stones to keep the soil fresh.
4. Spoon potting soil into the pot, then place the two ferns around the center pipe. Continue to fill the pot with soil securely around the plants and pipe.
5. Thread one end of the rope through the exposed top of the piping, then out through the drainage hole in the bottom. Tie a knot in the rope so that it rests against the bottom of the pot, with a 4-in/10-cm tail.
6. Cut 1 yd/1 m of twine with the scissors and use it to tie a whipping knot around the tail of the rope knot for a clean finish and to prevent it from unraveling. You can find directions for tying whipping knots online.
7. With a helper holding the pot, position the rope onto the hook in the desired spot and tie a knot to secure it in place. Drape the rest of the rope across to the wall hook, and let the end fall into a puddle on the floor. I like this longer length, but you could just as well cut a shorter length that just hangs down from the ceiling.