Comin’ atcha on this chilly Friday morning with part TWO of The Air We Breathe. This post is all about the plants (they totally deserved this post of their own)-which ones to buy for your home, what pollutants they filter out, and I even talk about the general tips on how to care for your plants.
I have always been hugely drawn to plants, #plantlady. Starting really young, I loved being outdoors, watching my parents tend to their gardens, and yard. Our home was always filled with plants. As I got older, I took over my parent’s greenhouse, and grew tons of herbs and vegetables. I was in love. It was such a calming, learning experience. Now that I have my own home, I have it filled with plants, and come summer, I have a huge herb garden, and grow as many veggies as I can. Plants have always been a part of what makes me tick. Learning so much while writing this post about how plants can impact our overall health and wellbeing has made me appreciate them even more on a whole new level.
Nasa calls plants “Nature’s life support system”
Below I have listed the top reasons why you should incorporate plants into your home:
- Take in CO2, and process it into oxygen which goes into the air
- Increase humidity
- Reduce levels of pollutants, such as benzene, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde
- Reduce dust levels
- In summer, they help keep the air temp down
- Absorb particulates from the air
- Microorganisms in the soil help clean the air
- Plants make people feel better. They help lower blood pressure & stress levels simply by looking at them
Make plants part of your home-buy some pretty pots or baskets for your plants to live in, they can become a part of the aesthetic of your space, and even part of the design element. When I go to the greenhouse, I just wander around until a certain plant stands out to me, and I read the tag to see what kind of light it needs, and get a nice pot for it. I aim to have at least 1 plant in each room (right now, I have about 25 plants in my house, ranging from small succulents to my giant snake plant). In the summer, I tend to move a lot of my plants out on our porch because they thrive out there after being inside all winter.
My standard for most of the plants in my house is that I water them 1x a week in the winter, and occasionally during the week I spray them with some water to help humidify them. I water them less in the summer because the heat is not on, so they stay hydrated for longer. Take note; simply look at the soil. If the soil seems dry, give that plant some water. If you watered it last week, and it still seems damp, then wait a few more days. Light is huge for the wellbeing of your plants. I always look up the type of plant that I am buying to find out what kind of light they need. A lot of house plants need indirect light, which works well for the winter months. Another tip that I just started doing that I have noticed that makes the plants thrive is to dust them. Yes, you read that right. I take a damp cloth and gently wipe the leaves off to take off the layer of dust. This allow optimal photosynthesis to take place, and for the plant to get enough of what it needs (sunlight) to thrive.
*NOTE* if you have pets-please read what kinds of plants can be toxic to them! I have 4 pets, and thankfully they (mostly) leave my plants alone, but always always check to see what plants can potentially harm your animals, you may want to stay away from them, or simply place the plant in an area where they can’t get to it. Cats tend to like to chew on leaves or grass-like plants.
Below I have listed some of the most common and easy to find house plants that you can get for your space. I have written out what pollutants they filter out, as well as some other factors that these plants will bring. Let me know if you buy any to add to your space!
Spider Plant- these plants like bright, indirect sunlight. They remove formaldehyde and xylene from the air.
Dracena- there are over 40 varieties of this plant. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene.
Fiddlehead Fig- these plants are very trendy to have in your house right now, they are a bit temperamental to care for, but if you have success with them, they greatly improve your air quality by providing huge amounts of oxygen.
Peace Lily- these plants can be smaller, but they pack a punch. They like very shady homes, which is good when light is waning in the winter. They remove ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Boston Fern- these plants thrive off of high humidity and indirect light. They remove formaldehyde and xylene.
Snake Plant-this plant is also called “mother in law’s tongue” (so great). This plant has got to be the easiest to grow. I swear you can’t kill it. They like some sun, and relatively dry conditions (great for those “I forgot to water for a month” moments). They remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. They add large amounts of oxygen to the air.
Bamboo Palm-these plants thrive in sun or bright light. They can filter a TON of air, because they get so big. They remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Aloe Vera- this plant not only filters the air, but it has compounds that promote wound healing and skin nourishment through its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. So if you own one, you can use it for body care as well. This plant removes formaldehyde.
Monstera or Philodendrons- this is the plant that I have the most of in my house. I have 1 monstera, and about 6 philodendrons. There are tons of varieties of philodendrons. They are easy to cultivate new plants from the clippings. Simply clip the ends when they get long, and stick in water until some roots start to form. I started with 1 philodendron, and the other 5 came from the first plant. These plants soak up formaldehyde.
There are a TON more plants, obviously, but these are the main ones that you most often see in the stores. A lot of greenhouses offer “starter plants” as well, which are tiny versions of these plants, that are really affordable. Sometimes if you buy these plants already well established, they can be expensive, but hey, look at it as an investment for your health. For the holidays this year, consider gifting someone you love a new plant in a nice planter. The more you bring nature indoors, the better you will feel.