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Indoor-to-outdoor container

An indoor-to-outdoor planting combination

This display looks great indoors over winter and can be transferred outdoors in the spring. It was created by Ben Preston, head gardener at York Gate garden in Leeds. Photography Eva Nemeth.

The three plants in this container can live indoors in the winter months before being moved outside in spring, when the risk of frost has passed.

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The evergreen and unusual foliage of Schefflera elegantissima and the soft lime-green of the Adiantum capillus-veneris provide year-round interest while the purple blooms of Tibouchina urvilleana are produced in summer but often flush again in the depths of winter.

This display is perfect for gardeners who have little outside space, with perhaps only a courtyard or balcony. The composite slate-style pot weighs far less than its slate counterparts.

All three plants need temperatures that are at least 5-10°C indoors in winter. An east-facing window is ideal, so it receives direct light through the winter months.

How to achieve the look

Plants to use

Tibouchina urvilleana, Schefflera elegantissima and maidenhair fern
© Eva Nemeth

Schefflera elegantissima (Plerandra elegantissima)

A slow-growing tender shrub that is often grown as a houseplant. Its open, dark- bronze palmate leaves are very attractive. Needs winter protection. Part shade. 2.5m. AGM. RHS H1B.

Buy Plerandra elegantissima from Happy House Plants

Tibouchina urvilleana

A shrub that has striking, purple-violet flowers throughout the summer and sporadically in winter. Full sun to part shade. 3m. AGM. RHS H2, USDA 9a-11.

Adiantum capillus-veneris

An airy, tender evergreen maidenhair fern. New foliage is a flush of bright lime green that becomes deeper as it ages. Requires bright but indirect sunlight indoors. Part to full shade outside. 40cm. RHS H2, USDA 5a-8b

Buy Adiantum capillus-veneris from Patch Plants

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Care and cultivation

Misting the foliage at least once a week will help keep the humidity high. Using a small hand-held sprayer will vastly improve overall plant health. Low humidity can often be the failing of many houseplants in modern houses with little ventilation and dry central heating.