Marly surrounded by green foliage in the home

In conversation with Brooke Morrow, Botany Technician and Marly Ambassador


"Marly is an excellent planter for the majority of plants”


Introducing Brooke Morrow

We’re thrilled to introduce our recent conversation with Brooke Morrow, and the first installment of what will become a regular feature for Marly’s Grower Club.

Through these informal but educational chats with leading plant experts, we’ll be showing you how, where, when, and what to grow with your Marly planters. 

Brooke is a Conservation Research Technician at The Institute of Applied Ecology. Day to day, she works on a variety of projects throughout the state of Oregon including rare plant surveys, threatened and endangered species monitoring, habitat restoration, invasive species management, environmental education and plant propagation. 

Basically, what Brooke doesn’t know about plants, isn’t really worth knowing!

Fortunately for us, she’s given the Marly self-watering planter her esteemed seal of approval, and was kind enough to give us some more insight into what she (and therefore you!) will be growing with them.

Before we dive into her plant recommendations, a word of warning from Brooke; “it’s important to note that while many plants will thrive in Marly’s planter, not all plants are suitable for self-watering pots. 

Plants that prefer dry soil such as succulents and cacti will not do well with the continued moisture Marly offers. On the other hand, some tropical plants that LOVE to be wet will suffer with the bottom-up watering system that may leave them wanting even more moisture. 

With that being said, Marly is an excellent planter for the majority of plants and you can’t go wrong with most choices!”

> Pro-Tip: Marly’s self-watering technology has your watering needs covered, but we still recommend watering your soil top-down every couple of months to ensure the roots close to the top of your plant get some extra love and attention. 


Boxes of Marly planters in home


Easy plants to get things started

Marly: Thank you for joining us today Brooke! First up, what are some easy plants for folks to start off with in their Marly pots?

Brooke: For the ultimate satisfaction, I’d recommend starting off with options on the smaller side that have big growing potential. My top picks would be:

  • Begonia - These are colorful flowering plants with attractive foliage. Happy living in indoor and outdoor gardens.

  • Alocasia - Dramatic tropical plants with large, arrowhead-shaped leaves and striking veins.

  • Chinese Evergreen - Low-maintenance plants with variegated leaves. These guys have excellent air-purifying qualities and tolerance for low-light conditions.

  • Peace Lily - Elegant plants with glossy, dark green leaves and white flowers. Sure to bring tranquility to your space!

  • Basil, Lavender, Rosemary - Great for the kitchen. Aromatic herbs that can be used in cooking and cocktails!


"Big plants can make for big conversation pieces"


Larger plants fit for larger planters 

Marly: Awesome! A perfect selection of plants for our Grower Club to consider as a starting off point. What are some bolder choices if someone has purchased one of our larger planters?

Brooke: Big plants can make for big conversation pieces. Properly cared for, they can really dominate a room in all the right ways. Here are my favorites: 

  • Colocasia (Elephant Ear) - Large-leaved plants resembling elephant ears. Big, bold foliage with a tropical aesthetic to give your space that rainforest vibe. You may even be gifted with the occasional flower!

  • Monstera - Iconic tropical plants with large, fenestrated leaves. These striking plants will thrive as both houseplants and outdoors on terraces or balconies.

  • Schefflera - Large, glossy leaves, known for their resilience and attractive, lush appearance.
  • Snake Plant - Succulent-like foliage arranged in upright, sword-shaped leaves, recognized for its durability and ability to thrive in low-light and drought conditions. A great choice for those with less time to fuss over their plants.
  • Peruvian Apple Cactus - Large cacti columns with ribbed stems and white flowers, perfect for desert gardens and landscapes. Bring a touch of Joshua Tree or Palm Springs to your space.


Plant expert showing large plant leaves


"I find that the best companion for pots that stack are plants that cascade or hang down. That way you can allow vines and leaves to flow towards the floor"


Best plants for stacking

Marly: Love it! A wall of big, bold foliage sounds like heaven to us. As you know, Marly planters are stackable, providing owners with the ability to build their garden upwards in tight spaces. Are there any particular plant types that you would opt for in elevated or higher points?

Brooke: Yes! Stackability is easily one of my favorite features of Marly planters. I find that the best companion for pots that stack are plants that cascade or hang down. That way you can allow vines and leaves to flow towards the floor. Here’s what I would plant in the top row of stacked planters…

  • Maidenhair Fern - Delicate ferns with lacy foliage and wiry black stems.

  • Boston Fern - Lush ferns with arching fronds and feathery leaves. Easily create full walls of green with this species.

  • Spider Plant - Long, arching leaves adorned with baby spider plantlets. Excellent air-purifying properties!

  • Pothos - A vining plant with heart-shaped leaves. Thrives in low light conditions and super easy to care for.

  • Philodendron - Tropical plants with glossy, leathery leaves, happy to spread out and fill surrounding spaces.

  • Alsobia - Small, trailing plants with fuzzy leaves and delicate white or purple flowers. These little guys are happy to grow out and down.


> Pro-tip: We suggest planting these pretty plants in the top planter of your stacked Marly to add a voluminous and vine-y mood to your space.


Large, green, healthy plants


"Trees often suit large spaces like offices, lobbies, or outdoor terraces. Interior designers, stagers and realtors, this is for you!"


Can you plant trees in planters?

Marly: Beautiful stuff! A question we get asked pretty frequently is whether Marly planters are good for housing trees. What are your thoughts there?

Brooke: Yes, yes, yes! There are plenty of beautiful trees that will thrive in Marly planters. Trees often suit large spaces like offices, lobbies, or outdoor terraces. Interior designers, stagers and realtors, this is for you! There are quite a few trees that I would nominate:

  • Majesty Palm and Parlor Palm - Tropical palms with graceful fronds. Their elegant appearance adds a touch of tropical ambiance to a space.
  • Money Tree - Small trees with braided trunks and palmate leaves, believed to bring good luck and prosperity according to Feng Shui principles, which we all need a little more of!
  • Yew Pine - Evergreen trees with dense, dark green foliage, commonly used as ornamental trees or shrubs. Create thick walls of green with the Yew Pine.
  • Rubber Tree - Large, glossy-leaved trees known for their rubbery sap and broad, shiny leaves. A great looking tree for communal spaces. 
  • Fiddle Leaf Fig - Gorgeous trees with broad, violin-shaped leaves. A modern aesthetic that definitely makes a statement. Cared for well, these guys can get BIG!
  • Ficus Audrey - Similar to the fiddle leaf fig but less temperamental, with broader, more sturdy leaves.
  • Madagascar Dragon Tree - Striking tropical trees with narrow, lance-shaped leaves and unique red-edged foliage. A surefire conversation starter. 


Lush green foliage with ornament on home


"I love all things green but throwing in some color always makes a space more beautiful. I enjoy mixing the combinations of my planters to keep my plant wall as lively as possible"


Best plants for adding color to your garden

Marly: So good to hear that trees pair just as well with Marly planters! We’ll make this next question our final one for today. What plants would you recommend for those who are looking to add a big pop of color to their space?

Brooke: I love all things green but throwing in some color always makes a space more beautiful. I enjoy mixing the combinations of my planters to keep my plant wall as lively as possible. There are many possibilities but here are a few options that I would go for:

  • Stromanthe "Triostar" - Vibrantly colored, featuring shades of pink, green, and cream. They have a preference for bright, indirect light, so keep them close but not too close to your windows. 
  • Prayer Plant - Named for its habit of folding its leaves upward at night resembling praying hands, these guys have lush, detailed touches of color throughout. 
  • Croton - Colorful tropical plants with multicolored leaves. If you’re looking to build a tropical aesthetic, pick the Croton. 
  • Philodendron Pink Princess - Dark green leaves streaked with pink variegation, loved for its unique blush tones and deep magenta hues. This is a personal favorite of mine!
  • False Shamrock - Small plants with triangular leaves and delicate white or pink flowers. Vibrant hues of purple, green, and sometimes silver.

> Pro tip: With Marly bundles you can literally build different combinations of planters to act as a living, breathing design element with the only limitation being your imagination. Use the plants above to create splashes of color amongst your wall of foliage. 

Marly: Awesome insight Brooke, thanks so much, and we look forward to chatting again soon! 

Brooke: Happy gardening! 

We’re thrilled to say that Brooke will be a returning guest on the Marly Journal and checking in to regularly share her wisdom with Marly’s Grower Club over the coming months. 

To be the first to hear Brooke and other plant expert’s insight and advice, subscribe to our newsletter. 

It’s free, and you’ll also benefit from community discounts, event invites, product promotions, and exclusive content. 

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