You guys! I need to stop buying new plants!
OK, so the only new one is that Zebra Cactus, but still!
Have I always been a plant lover? Coaxing out little buds of greenery with my coveted green fingers? Nope.
When I first left home and had my ‘own space’ nary a single real plant would you have found there.
We had just moved to a new city. My sister had just bought me this adorable book. You can’t tell from the photo but it’s small, quite simple and not bogged down with unnecessary detail. Amongst basic ‘natural cleaning products found in your kitchen cupboard’ type of advice, was a page with some interesting information. Here’s what it had to say ;
“If you are still worried about indoor air pollution, despite making your own cleaning products, then there is some good news. there is a way to purify air while bringing beauty and color into your home. Welcome to the amazing world of houseplants!”
And just like that I was hooked. I needed houseplants in my life. I had been under the impression that all plants are air-purifiers. However, as I was about to learn some plants are more so than others, especially for common household toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene (found in many household objects and materials as well as commercial cleaning products).
So after a post moving frenzy I felt like doing something I had never done before, something daring and ‘grown up’. I went to a farm shop and bought plants!
Fresh Paint and Houseplants. Apparently these are the first two things you need to make a newly moved into space feel alive and welcoming. Choosing a couple of plants to take home with me that day felt strangely therapeutic and much to my husband’s surprise, I started growing my collection!
But wait I didn’t just pick up any pretty plant. No. This time I had a plan. Armed with the information from my book and a Google generated list of EASY maintenance plants, I matched the two to make one list – of plants that require minimal care AND were going to purify our indoor air!
See that tiny cute little guy in the middle, the one my cute little assistant is pointing at so helpfully? (what you can’t hear in the photo – my daughter screaming – ‘MAMA! Look! TINY one!’ ) It grew all by itself from one I had bought earlier! Basically a miracle when it comes to my relationship with plants … (something actually grew from a plant in my care?!)
If you are like me and want to surround yourself with plants but can’t even see a tinge of green on your fingers, then here is a beginners list of 5 easy to care for plants, many of which are also excellent for purifying the air in your home.
Aloe Vera (along with a wide range of succulents and cactus shown in the photos prior to this) just need a sunny spot in your home and watering once every three weeks or so. Aloe Vera, in fact, will be fine even in a less sunny spot and it must be the commonest known home remedy plant, you really can just snap a part of this rubbery gel filled plant and rub it on cuts/burns/ for quick cooling relief.
Crispy Fern, is an easy fern, unlike other plants from the fern family which can be quite fiddly. Indoor air purification properties? Excellent.
Also one of the easiest of the easiest, Pothos is high on the list of plants that are indoor air-purifiers. It has a lovely ‘fall’ to it as it trails out and if you put it in a shady area, will grow some leaves with a marble like dappled pattern. This plant can take a bit of over watering so it is an ideal ‘starter’ plant if you want a child to take responsibility for one.
Snake Plant, also called Mother In Law’s tongue (!) is another hardy but beautiful plant. SO sculptural don’t you think? This plant will actually survive in any corner of your house and is another good one for indoor air-purification, especially for removing formaldehyde. (I prefer its beautiful botanical name – Sanseviera)
This ZeeZee Plant is a serious trooper and probably my favorite. It has suffered falling from the windowsill not once not twice but three times! I finally learned from my mistake and placed it, more firmly, on a shelf (and re potted it too).
(The ZZ Plant in a much happier place!) Although this one does not have particular properties of detoxing in-door air pollution, I do love it so! It is one of the easiest plants ever and will look gorgeous anywhere and match with any decor.
How about you? are you a newbie like me or do you have a jungle in your home already? Any more easy-peasy plant suggestions? We’d LOVE to know!
Other Houseplants used to clean the air :
To remove benzene : Gerbera Daisy, Pot Mum and Peace Lilly
To remove formaldehyde: Parlour Palm, and Janet Craig
And if you are really keen an even more extensive list of 50 plants recommended by NASA to effectively clean indoor air, ranked in order of effectiveness from most effective to least. (However I can’t promise that they are all ‘easy’!)