Displaying Plants on Shelves

Plants can add color and interest to an area, but sometimes finding ways to display them is a challenge. A bookcase, especially one that is open on both sides to allow light to filter through, is the perfect perch for your plants. Not only does it give the plants a place to rest, but can also give a new purpose to a piece of furniture that is traditionally used for books.


  1. Install grabs bars below each shelf and add fluorescent light to provide light for flowering plants, such as African violets, if the bookcase is located away from natural light. Leave the lights on six to eight hours per day.
  2. Place a pot on the ground on top of a shelf and let the vines and leaves hang down on the sides or in front. Ivy for example can survive in poor light, but light will produce more variation in the leaves.
  3. Place a plant with low light requirements, like a Chinese evergreen, at the end of a row of books in the bookcase to add color and interest.
  4. Place different types of potted plants, flowering or not, a new open library as a way to add a decorative look to either side of a room. Add decorations, interesting rocks or shells to the shelves to make it more decorative.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different placement of plants in the bookcase to determine which is more appealing to you.
  • Do not place a bookcase made of wood or fiber finishing off because they could damage the elements. Use a metal shelf for external purposes.
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