The Big Idea: With topiaries, you can toss out the rule about center-pieces being less than 12 inches tall. Slender trunks won't block guests' views. Depending on your table's size, three to seven pots grouped in a watertight tray (like the galvanized one shown on page 41) make a stunning statement. The display will look fresh for months.
The Care: If your dining room gets bright light, you're halfway there. Water so the soil stays moist. "If you are constantly watering, it may be time to repot," says designer Loi Thai, who normally does this in spring or summer, when the plants are actively growing. Select the next-size-larger container (Loi loves terra-cotta), use quality potting soil, and gently loosen bound roots prior to replanting. Feed with a water-soluble fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food, twice a month in warmer weather.
Editor's Tip: To keep plants happy in winter, Loi feeds with a half-strength solution of water-soluble fertilizer every four to six weeks.