HOUSE PLANTS: WHY, HOW AND WHERE

I have mentioned this trend, the new obsession with everything holistic and wellness inspired, even down to the way we decorate our homes.  Well while you stay on point with this new style, educate yourself too so not only do you look cool but you are also benefiting from its healing properties. Plus you look better when you actually know what your talking about... 

The latest craze (not crystals, not woven baskets, not turmeric lattes) is the house plant. Man, I remember so clearly having such a repugnance toward this look. I always thought of my German grandparents: birkenstocks and house plants. Funny how both trends have come way back around and I have fallen victim to both. However, I did not bring home my first plant due to a fashion statement as I did with my birks. I hopped on the train because I got allergy tested. DUST is the culprit, number 4 on the scale. No wonder my allergies were mainly acting up in my home, in my bedroom and in my bed! Nasty little dust mites. I stripped away my rug (insert sobbing emoji), got rid of the curtains (which I hated anyway) and looked up organic wool pillows. I bought a HEPA filter, this amazing new air probiotic device (which I blogged about here) and plants, glorious green leafed beauties. 

Here is the low down. Basically plants can remove air pollutants, there are two types of these: VOC's and particulates. VOC's are airborne chemical gases released from house hold items such as carpeting, fabrics, paint, plastics and solvents. Particulates are dust, mold spores and pollen. Nasa have studied and found that 19 indoor plants were effective in cleaning the air. In just 24 hours they found that 87% of air pollutants were removed by the leaves and roots of the plants. Remember at school when you learnt about plants; plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis which happens during the day.  At night photosynthesis can't take place so they are still consuming oxygen not releasing any back out. So this is your first bit of research, you do not want to sleep with a plant who is competing for your oxygen while you sleep. Much better off having it steal your life force when your gone all day (although some people disagree with this and suggest there is plenty to go around, I guess I'm selfish). I have photographed almost all of the plants we have in our home ( some were to big to move on my own so no pictures there) to give you a good basic starting point of each plant, its benefits and basically help you recognize these plants with a name. 

Dracena

A slow growing plant which can grow up to 6ft likes to be kept moist in a sunny-shady spot. Specifically this red edged Dracena has the highest performance rate in removing air pollutants. 

Golden Pathos

This plant is characterized by its golden heart shaped leaves, also comes non-variegated. They like a warm environment with bright, indirect sunlight, also let it dry out between waterings. This is a great one for the bedroom, it especially helps with allergies for people who suffer from congestion. It helps rest and relax the eyes too, stop irritation.

Rubber Plant

Rubber plants excel at removing chemical toxins (especially formaldehyde) from indoor air, requiring less light than many other plants and outperforming all other ficuses. If your pet is a chewer becareful of this one it can be toxic. Our dog has never shown interest.
 

Variegated Rubber Plant

(same as above)

Areca Palm

Also known as the Bamboo palm, is one of the easiest to grow inside. ( a good one for all you black thumbs) Keep it a large enough pot as they like to grow big! Keep moist, if it feels dry below the surface you need to water it and keep it well drained!

Mother-In-Law's Tongue or Snake Plant

Oddly enough my mother-in-law actually turned us on this plant for my allergies. This is the only plant which actually let's out oxygen out night, so this is another great bedroom plant! It needs heavy watering and then left to dry out. It can also survive in any location, sun or shade!

 

Spider Plant

Such an easy plant to grow, I nursed this one back to life from the pot store. And for the record I have had to work very hard at my green thumb but as a result all my plants have survived this past year! Much improvement. Keep moist in a sunny-shady spot. 

 

I also have a Ficus Benjamin and Philodendron but I could not move them...

It really has taken me some time to understand how to keep plants alive. I think they felt my energy of my previous misconceptions, I now nurture them, I really find pleasure in watering them. They feel the love and in return they don't die. Here are some pointers to help so many of you who have asked me how am I doing it...

BIGGEST TIP I have received was from the sweet little lady at Sunset Nursery. She basically said as a general rule follow this guideline. If the leaves are pointing down and look sad, feel the soil. If the soil is dry the plant is asking for more water! If the soil is moist, you are giving the plant too much water. This has helped me tremendously. I am now one with the plants. Every house is different, every room is different, The air, the sun, the activity, all makes a difference. I try to have a watering schedule which is simple, MONDAYS. However, using the above information during the week I check on my little green friends and see how they are doing. On dryer hotter weeks I sometimes have to water twice. 

A few other tips:

Potting: Plants need nutrients. When potting your plants, try leaving them in there original plastic pots for a few weeks for them to get accustomed to the new environment. When you are ready to plant, use cracked egg shells to improve drainage and add nutrients. Foliage plants need a high nitrogen blend of food either in the soil or added to water. Do not add nutrients in winter months. 

Watering: Use room temperature water, cold water can injure roots and leaves. Remember these are living things. This sounds bananas but save your water from pasta or veggies, let it cool and add to your plants. DO not over water, most plants actually die from this or never watering. 

Encourage growth: Pick faded leaves or dead ones off. To encourage businesses trim 1inch off new stem and leaf grow. Less height, more thickness. 

I hope this helps... There are many more plants out there, you can research the other plants which Nasa tested here. No need to turn your home into a jungle either ( which I am currently doing) because one or two plants will cover an area of 100sq ft room with 9ft ceilings. 

 

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