On the importance of house plants

I have a minor obsession with house plants. I’ve got spider plants, rubber plants, ivy trailing everywhere around my home. I frequently run out of pots to put them in and have to buy more pots; this frees up the smaller pots, and I buy more plants.

Vicious cycle.

But I really do think they improve my day, and there’s lots of evidence to suggest that they improve your health as well. I like seeing greenery indoors, I enjoy watching them grow, and the cat likes to chew the leaves.

So what are the benefits?

  1. Purify the air: plants can absorb harmful toxins from the air, break them down, and release the harmless by products.
  2. Remove carbon dioxide: it has been suggested that plants can remove up to 10% of carbon dioxide from the air. (So’s it’s really concerning when trees are cut down when we have a global problem with carbon…)
  3. Increase the humidity: this is much healthier than dry or dusty air, which causes throat, nose, and eye irritation.
  4. Improve relationships: caring for nature increases compassion and boosts our mood, making us just a bit better at putting up with each other.
  5. Help us to think: plants increase our capacity for memory, increase productivity and creativity.
  6. Help us to heal: patients recovering from surgery heal better when they can see plants – they have lower blood pressure, and less pain and fatigue.
  7. Reduce noise pollution: this probably helps more with outdoor plants, as you can plant a large hedge between your house and the road to block out the traffic noise.

Which plants should you choose if you want to improve the air quality in your home?

NASA went to great lengths to thoroughly study which plants could be used to purify the air in space facilities, so we have a pretty good idea of which plants to buy if we want to improve the air quality in our homes.

Snake plants – otherwise known as ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’ (because they are sharp.) They give out oxygen at night, unlike most plants, so they work best in the bedroom.

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Broadleaf lady palm – to be honest, I had never heard of this one. Apparently it can extract ammonia from the air so is really helpful at detoxifying the air after using cleaning products.

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Aloe vera – a spiky succulent that fights benzene, which is found in plastics and detergents.

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Spider plant – combats carbon monoxide. What a beauty!

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Chinese evergreen – likes humidity, thrives in bathrooms where it can tackle the formaldehyde from cosmetics.

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Ficus/ weeping fig – cleans the air of fireplace smoke so perfect for rustic living rooms.

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English ivy – removes airborne fecal matter!

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Orchids – another one that gives off oxygen at night time so perfect for bedrooms. Also tackles the chemicals found in shoe polish. (So fill your shoe polishing room with orchids.)

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Looks like I need to plan a trip to a garden centre soon…….