Heartleaf PhilodendrunDid you know that the air inside your home is most likely more polluted and unhealthy than the air outside?

Plants are nature’s air filters. By adding some houseplants to your home, you can dramatically improve the quality of your indoor air.

Besides filtering your air, plants are refreshing, elegant and beautiful and transmit a sense of peacefulness and healthiness. In order to take advantage of all of the benefits that plants have to offer, you will have to give a little back. But don’t worry, it is not rocket science! All plants need is the right amount of water, sufficient light, and a little bit of love.

Let’s talk about the benefits of living with plants and the basic requirements to keep them happy and healthy.

Indoor Air Pollution and Plants as Cleaning Agents

Arrowhead Plant

Due to inadequate ventilation and common indoor pollutants, such as chemical cleaners, air fresheners, central heating and air conditioning systems, building materials, and paint, indoor air pollution is usually worse than outdoor air pollution. In other words, the air in your home or office is more contaminated than the air outside. As most of us spend more time indoors, living with highly polluted air can potentially lead to short and long term negative health effects.

According to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), some of the most common short term effects cause by exposure to indoor air pollution include: irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Some of the long term effects, like respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, may show up after long or repeated periods of exposure or years later.

We cannot control the composition of the air outside our home, but we can definitely do something about our personal space.  By reducing the use of toxic cleaning products, opening the windows more often, and introducing plants to your habitat, you can significantly improve the quality of your indoor air!

Edison hanging light bulb planterPhotosynthesis: As no other life form can, plants produce their food by converting the energy from the sun into chemical energy and by transforming carbon dioxide and water into high-energy carbohydrates. This process, called photosynthesis, which is carried out in the green tissues of leaves and some steams, produces oxygen as a byproduct.

Besides creating oxygen, plants absorb greenhouse gases and pollutants and increase air circulation. Therefore, plants are very efficient air cleaners and they will help you keep your place looking good and smelling fresh.

Having some green plants at home will enhance and enchant your habitat for low cost and little effort. However, choosing the right indoor plants for you and your home is very important in order to obtain successful results. Let’s look into some of the options!

Exotic and Affordable Living Art

Aloe Vera TerrariumIn addition to filtering pollution and helping the air circulation in your home or work space, plants act as living decoration. The right plant in the right spot can change the whole look of your office or living room. Indoor plants can enhance a corner in a room, accent or divide areas, soften hard edges, warm up large and cold walls, and even help to direct the flow of your guests.

Combining the right pot with the right plant in the right place to accomplish a specific decorative style, can be an artistic challenge. Clay pots and wicker flower baskets are great to attain a rustic look, while metal pots and glass hydroculture containers can complement a modern appearance.  Some areas of your home—or office—will be better complimented with a svelte elegant indoor palm, while some others can be enhanced with a table top accent leafy plant. Hanging plants are also a great way to bring a corner to life and save some ground space. Let’s look into the different pot options:

succulent in clay decorative pot with platePOTS: If you are a lazy gardener, you will prefer plastic and ceramic containers; these materials help retain the moisture in the soil for longer periods of time, which means that you will have to water less frequently. Another way to retain moisture is to cover the soil with moss, mulch or wood chips, rocks, or even shells, which will also help you create a nature-neat look. Clay and stone pots will be better options if you tend to over water; they are porous and offer better air circulation, which will make water evaporate faster and may help you avoid the negative consequences of over watering (root rot, yellowing leaves, fungus flies, etcetera).

Plants are sold in a basic plastic container or pot. You can either buy a sexy pot or basket that matches your decorative style and place your plant in it or re-pot your plant into a higher quality larger pot. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your plant’s container allows excess waterPot with built in water plate to drain! Plants’ roots need oxygen, and excess water limits the amount of oxygen in the soil. In addition, do not allow more that one inch of water to remain in the plant’s dish or drainage container. If the roots don’t get proper air circulation, the plant could suffer from root rot.

Note: If your plant doesn’t have a built in water tray, plate, or decorative pot, any excess water that the soil cannot absorb will drain and potentially damage your furniture, floor or carpet. Make sure you place your pot on a saucer!

Plants can be unique, refreshing and affordable decorative pieces, as long as you can keep them healthy and thriving. The best way to accomplish this is by following these houseplants ‘maintenance and care guidelines’ and by choosing the easiest and hardiest plants available!

Most Reliable Indoor Plants

Ficus and Neon PothosThis is a list of some of the most reliable or easy-to-grow houseplants: heart-leaf Philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium), rubber plant (Ficus robusta), Ficus benjamina, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Neon pothos (Epipremnum aureum), arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum), Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis), corn plant (Dracaenas), ZZ plant (Zamioculcas), spider plant (Chlorophytum), zebra plant (Calathea), lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus pulcher), rabbit tracks (Maranta), peace lily (Spathiphyllum), Begonias,  Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), dumb cane (Diffenbachia), schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla), kentia palm (Hoea forteriana), parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans), areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), lady palm (Rhapis), and some types of ferns, such as asparagus fern, Boston fern, and foxtail fern.