Sometimes big spaces in your home require dramatic statements. Eye-catching artwork or architectural features can achieve that "wow" factor.

So can a tall, big plant.

What's known as a specimen plant commands your attention when you walk into a room or area of the home. "It's out of the ordinary," explains Bob Wright, owner of Living Interiors. "It makes you go, ‘Wow'."

A specimen serves many purposes in an interior home décor. It can mark a transition between spaces such as the foyer from the living room, says Wright.

It also softens a room with its organic nature, he adds, and can bring the outdoor views indoors. They also help hide unsightliness such as wiring.

It can vary the lines in a room to create interest, says Kym Koepke Fuhrig, owner of Ruby Begonia Interior Plants Inc. For instance, a plant that's taller than the top of window treatments will break up the line created by the treatments in the room.

A typical price range for a specimen is $500-$1,000, says Wright, with a few hundred additional dollars for the pot. That's because a specimen is pretty much mature so that it fills the spot right away and won't take up any more space.

"You really want to go for instant gratification," he says.

Wright and Fuhrig, whose companies install and maintain indoor plants in commercial and residential settings, offer several bits of advice when considering using a specimen indoors:

• Find the sunniest areas in which to put specimens. They'll need all the light they can get. While electrical lights will help, they don't replace the sun.

• Some homeowners will exchange a specimen in a dark spot with one in a brighter space for a time so they both get a bit of light, says Fuhrig.

• She admits, however, that moving specimens "is a pain in the neck." Wright suggests committing to a spot you'll be happy with for a long time.

• When considering the height of a specimen, a good rule of thumb is for the plant to reach about two-thirds the height of the ceiling, says Wright.

• Specimens can be overdone. Don't put more than one or two in a room, he says.

• The decorative pot needs to complement the design and color of the room in which the specimen is located, he says. On the other hand, says Fuhrig, if it's going to be hidden, you can get away with a less dramatic and expensive one.

Contact local freelance writer Elena Acoba at

Good Indoor Specimens

Bamboo palm (chamaedorea)

Dracaena, including the dragon tree (marginata)


Spineless Yucca


• Living Interiors, 624-1333,

• Ruby Begonia Interior Plants Inc., 882-6500.