What houseplants do for you



Young woman working in greenhouse

A green thumb isn’t necessary for most houseplants, and many need only little attention for the amount of work they do in return for you. ©Adobe Stock

Did you and your kids spend any time being sick this winter? Were you tired of constantly wiping runny noses and then running out of tissues?

When you start your spring cleaning this year consider buying a few houseplants. Not only are houseplants a beautiful addition to a home, they have another purpose there. Plants clean the air and provide oxygen so we can breathe. The air quality of our homes partially determines how often and to what extent we get sick. Plants take in many of the bad gases in our homes and return healthy, breathable air for us to consume.

People need houseplants more than ever now that our windows are almost always closed to keep in either heat or air conditioning. Closed windows make the air inside our homes stuffy and stale. Sometimes the quality of the air in our homes is worse than the air quality outside. Our homes are supposed to be a safe zone. Put some plants in each room of your home if possible.

People often talk about detoxing their bodies and there are many ways to do that. But why not start with the air we breathe? Detox the air around you and you will soon start to feel a difference in your body. You may not even realize how many toxins are in your home and where they come from. Benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene are commonly found in furniture and household cleaning products. Fortunately, there are many plants that soak up these bad chemicals and give off good clean air for us to breathe.

Plants take in many of the bad gases in our homes and return healthy, breathable air for us to consume.

Since healthier air affects the entire family, make choosing and caring for plants a family affair. Take the kids shopping with you and allow them to pick out plants they might like to have in their rooms. Teach them how to care for the plants and help them understand the concepts of over or under watering and the plant’s need for sunlight.

And don’t worry; a green thumb isn’t necessary. Many plants need very little attention for the amount of work they do for you. Some plants just need the proper amount of sunlight and water.

If you wonder what some good house plants are for a beginner, here are a few to start with:

Snake Plants—Snake plants absorb things we don’t want to breathe in, such as nitrogen and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is in more of the products you use on a daily basis than you think. The bedroom is a good location for this plant as it produces oxygen during the night instead of during the day. More oxygen means better sleep.

Bamboo Palms—The bamboo palms clean the air and act as a natural humidifier, making it a good choice for those who have trouble breathing at night. Bamboo palms do well indoors where there isn’t a lot of sunlight. Shaded areas work just fine for them.

Spider Plant—Spider plants are easy to grow. They are great for removing carbon monoxide and other toxins from the air. NASA actually recommends a spider plant as one of the best for removing formaldehyde toxins from the air.

Peace Lily—The peace lily is definitely a plant you will want to include on your “to purchase” list. They are the perfect plant to put in rooms where moisture builds up, such as the bathroom or a laundry room. Peace lilies remove mold spores which can cause a lot of problems for people with asthma or allergies. Besides removing mold spores they also remove formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. This easy to grow plant needs shade or indirect sunlight and water once a week.

Areca Palms—These palms are one of the best air purifying plants for general air cleanliness.

Gerbera Daisy—The gerbera daisy produces beautiful flowers for your home while removing benzene from the air. It absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off more oxygen during the night making it another perfect choice for the bedroom.

Aloe—Here is one more plant that helps rid the air of toxins in our homes. Aloe is easy to grow as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight and water it once in a while.

Want a few more ideas for healing houseplants? Rhododendron, philodendron, chrysanthemum and azalea are all good choices when it comes to clean air in your home. Investing in a few plants can increase the air quality of your home while decreasing the amount of money and time you spend at the doctor’s office.

RUTH O’NEIL is a plant-loving freelance writer from Virginia.


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