Today is National Houseplant Appreciation Day. While some people love houseplants for their looks, they are worth SO much more to our homes and health.
Why Should You have Houseplants?
They Remove Toxins from our Air
Whether it is indoors or out, plants take in toxins and release pure oxygen. Our bodies need three things to survive: food, water, and oxygen. Plants provide pure oxygen, which is necessary for good health.
Where is the most toxic air?
The average person spends 90% of their time indoors. That makes cleaning up the air we breathe a priority. We should all be looking to bring plants into our homes to clean the air.
But my house is clean…
Your house may be clean, but the newer your house, the more off-gassing is happening. And every time you buy new carpets, flooring, drapes, bedding, mattresses, furniture, etc., there are new items that are contributing to your indoor pollution. And then there are the cleaning products themselves that are very toxic.
For more information on this topic, see my prior post on Toxins In Our Air.
Which Ones Are Best?
There are many sites that will tell you what plants will remove which toxins. Some are better in the bedroom where they provide extra oxygen at night while you sleep. And some are better in other areas. Many are toxic to pets, so be careful what you bring into your home. I have been known to be standing in a store with a plant in my cart checking the web to see if it is toxic to pets. Many of the really good air cleaning houseplants are toxic to pets. So, I’ve had to put more back than I’ve brought home, sadly.
And Don’t Forget…
While you are out looking for plants, don’t forget to look for some herbs that can be grown indoors. Look for herbs that you love to use in cooking. If you love Italian cooking, look for basil and oregano. Like chicken? Look for thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, tarragon. You get the idea. Of all the herbs out there, if you only had space to plant three, I’d say to plant basil as it doesn’t keep well, and parsley and oregano because they are used so often in recipes. You may be different, but those are the three I’d pick.
Winter is a GREAT Time to Add Plants
Many stores and nurseries push green plants at this time of year. All the Christmas stuff has been removed and they have a lull before the spring and summer items take up space. To fill in the space, they bring in green plants from down south. The green plants are also good for our mental health when many of us in the north are starved for green growing things.
Where Should I Get My Plants?
A word of caution about buying from stores. I read a few years ago that some of these plants have been planted in toxic materials and/or are sprayed with toxic pesticides and are pretty scary. So, again, check online to see if the plants have any warnings. Sadly, the place that had the best-looking plants back 3 years ago was Lowe’s and there were many organizations warning people not to buy them. I haven’t checked to see if that has been resolved.
Your Green Thumb Friends
This is the most cost-effective way to get plants – and you know if they are using pesticides or planting in toxic materials because you can ask them! So if you have friends who have a jungle of plants in their house, ask if you can have some cuttings. Not all plants can be easily propagated, but if they have a jungle, they probably know how to propagate them, too. There are even groups of people who get together to share and exchange their excess plants. Look for those – and make some new friends in the process.
Local Horticultural Center
Many cities have Horticultural Centers. Some are indoor/outdoor, and some are just indoor or just outdoor. Check around to see if you can get them from a Horticultural Center near you. In our area, we have the Mitchell Park Horticultural Domes for the indoor park and many outdoor places during the summer. Some sell plants year-round, while others either don’t sell any at all or only during the summer. Here’s a link to “The Domes.” I couldn’t resist showing you this treasure.
How Do I Care for them?
Plants need water, air, light, and on occasion, food. Every plant is different. If the plant doesn’t come with a tag, ask or check online. If you don’t have natural sunlight, you can buy plant lights. Just be careful as some of those lights (especially LED) are SO intense that they are harmful to our eyes and our pet’s eyes. I put some plants that needed lots of light in my office and had the light come on at night after I closed the door to protect all our eyes because I don’t get much natural light here.
Which plants do you have? Do you plan to add any after reading this?
Have a Happy Friday.