Allow me to introduce my eldest son Erik….who is sharing his “One Good Thing” today. Recently Erik developed a fascination (to say the least!) with houseplants. After several conversations with him on the subject, I realized this was great information that needed to be shared! :-) Take it away Erik……. If you would have told me 2 months ago, that I would have indoor plants in every room of my house, and two more in my office at work, I would have laughed.
It happened when, quite suddenly, the Marketing company I work for moved locations. My new office consisted of four walls and a door, no windows. Internet searches for “office design” suggested an indoor plant to “bring the outside in” and “brighten up the space.” I decided to give it a try and discovered while it definitely brightened things up….it also provided even more important benefits!
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In case you’ve forgotten your high school biology….let me refresh your memory. Through photosynthesis plants convert light to energy, and, unlike us, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen (instead of the other way around.)
The benefits of added oxygen in our environment include the following:
- -Faster healing and recovery from injury.
- -Calming and stabilizing of the mind and body.
- -Aids recovery from headaches and migraines.
- -Energizing! We get more of our energy from oxygen than food!
- -Improved heart health.
But it gets better! Indoor plants not only absorb the Carbon Dioxide we exhale, but also rid our indoor air of nasty elements called “Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOC’s). These include scary things like formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, and Trichloroethylene; all of which are found in everyday items such as paper, electronics, and furniture.
Plants are nature’s own air purifiers. NASA conducted a study of various houseplants and their effectiveness at filtering out hazardous chemicals from the air. Their findings? Many of the plants were highly effective at removing hazardous chemicals from the air. Not only that, but they can regulate humidity as well.
But, before you turn your house into a botanical garden, here are some plants from my personal collection, which studies have shown to be particularly good at cleaning the air.
Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Although it’s not the most “soft”, and “beautiful” option, this thing is a powerhouse, and extremely easy to care for. It can take all sorts of light; from full sun, to an office with no windows. I have one at work and am shocked at how well it’s done. I take it out to our sunny foyer on the weekends, and it is growing like crazy despite less-than-ideal conditions. Only needs bi-weekly watering, and is not too demanding. Characterized by its succulent, upright, pointed leaves, it’s also referred to as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue. I have to admit, I chuckled to myself when I learned that. Found it at Wal-Mart for $5.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
We needed a plant for our kitchen, and I let my wife do the honors of picking out a plant to put on our new kitchen table. She decided on another one of the best (and much more attractive) options for an indoor plant. The Peace Lily is characterized by its big, arching leaves. It needs perhaps the least amount of light of all plants. It even tells you when it needs to be watered! It will droop slightly, but spring right back after a thorough watering. Once it matures a little, it will send forth occasional white blooms. Found it at Lowe’s.
Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
For those seeking a trailing, climbing vine-type, the Golden Pothos is another very easy-to-grow option. Needs a moist soil, but is prone to rotting if it sits in water. Also tolerates low light pretty well. Grows rapidly, and will not mind the occasional pruning. I love the variegated leaves on mine. Green with a hint of gold. Another great Lowe’s find at $3.
Parlor Palm (Neanthe Bella) (Chamaedorea elegans)
Of all my plants, this has been the most surprising. When I think of palms, I think back to my days in Charleston, SC; tropical, warm, coastal. Surely a palm would suffer in my windowless office! But surprisingy, 3 new fronds are coming in! With only a weekend of indirect light, and a weekly watering, this may be my favorite. And all those leaves lead to a lot of oxygen being produced. This is the best indoor palm, in my opinion. Also courtesy of Lowe’s.
ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The last one I’ll share is one I picked up at Home Depot. The ZZ plant is a distant relative to palm trees, but small enough to fit on a table. Instead of arching fronds, it has cool “tubers” which hold the glossy leaves. It’s great at removing VOC’s, and is another plant you have to try hard to kill, but I don’t recommend that. This was in great condition at Home Depot.
Of course you don’t need to fill every inch of your house with plants to get the air purification benefits. It is recommended to have 1 plant for every 100 sq. feet, so one plant in every room should suffice.
I’m always looking for something new…..what plants do you have in YOUR home?