Friday, 4 July 2008

Houseplants and Clean Air

I love houseplants. My mum's house is overflowing with them... huge ones... and ever since leaving home many moons ago, I’ve followed in her footsteps by growing a selection of them in all of the 18 homes I’ve lived in. Originally I grew them simply because I thought they were beautiful and helped make a house feel more homely but since discovering that they also help us by cleaning the air of nasty pollutants, I’m doubly happy to have them in my home.

NASA have done extensive studies in this area and have found that some plants are more prone to clear pollutants than others although it’s highly likely that all house plants will do their bit to help keep the air in our homes healthy.

Those that do the best job are:

  • Mother-in-law’s Tongue
  • Peace Lily
  • Spider Plant
  • Gerbera
  • English Ivy
  • Heartleaf Philodendron
  • Elephant’s Ears Philodendron
  • Red Edged Dracaena
  • Corn Plant Dracaena
  • Weeping Fig
  • Rubber Plant
  • Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
  • Aloe Vera

It’s suggested that in an average sized home it’s worthwhile keeping 15 plants with at least half of them chosen from the above list and then top up with whatever takes your fancy and will be suitable for its intended spot. The plants should be spread throughout the house.

At the moment I have just four in the living room, two in the bathroom and just one lonely Aloe Vera plant in the kitchen – kindly donated by a lady on Freecycle. Sadly, about two thirds of my houseplant collection was killed off by kindness, first when I had long-term houseguests who seemed to think that every plant pot should be filled to the brim with water and then again when somebody else took over the care of those that remained, while I was ill. Oh, and the dog snapped the rubber plant.

I really must start buying more. As I said, they help make the house feel more homely but it’s also nice to have living decorations instead of everything being man-made.

Sharon J


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