7 Houseplants That Will Enlighten Your Home
Houseplants were standard decor in our grandmothers’ time, lining the windowsills and climbing the shelves. But by the turn of the 21st century they had become rather ho-hum, replaced by department store silk flower look-alikes, if at all.
Fortunately, the real things are making their way back into our buildings, and this time they come with recommendations from psychologists, interior decorators and even NASA.
According to the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Swedish and Norwegian researchers found that “many studies linked houseplants with positive benefits, including improved performance in an office or classroom, increased pleasantness, lower anxiety, and lower blood pressure.”
Earlier studies found that plants in hospital rooms help patients recover faster with fewer painkillers. Interior decorators are recommending plants to help define the spaces in contemporary great rooms and open-concept designs.
And NASA has provided information learned from its studies that houseplants, when placed in sealed chambers in the presence of chemicals common to our houses, removed those chemicals from the chambers.
So here is an introduction to 10 easy-to-grow houseplants that will help beautify your home, cure some of your ills and clean the air.
1. Ivy (Hedera helix)
Is a versatile plant that can be used for hanging, or training on a wire form. Ivy likes bright light and moist soil, and comes in a variety of greens and variegations.
The plant is poisonous if eaten, but its advantages are worth giving it a try unless pets or children are a concern.
2. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Is one of the hardiest of houseplants; in winter it only requires watering once a month. It does like bright light, though, so place it close to a window.
The long, upright leaves have wavy, horizontal bands, and will grow one metre tall.
3. Spider plants (Chlorophytum)
Are one of NASA’s air purification favourites. They’re so easy to grow they make a good beginner plant, and will even survive mild neglect.
Their leaves are solid green or variegated green and white, and they send out long offshoots that will grow into new plants that you can pot-up. Spider plants require bright light, such as an east or west window, and moist soil.
Have been a popular houseplant for decades, and for good reason.
They’re easy to grow! They prefer medium—not direct—light, and their soil kept evenly moist. You can choose plants that have small or large leaves, variegated colours, cut-leaf varieties, as well as hanging varieties.
5. Jade plant (Crassula argentea)
Requires lots of light, so place it near a window where it will receive five to six hours of sunlight each day. However, it doesn’t need a lot of water since moisture is stored in the fleshy leaves. Let the soil dry out before watering. This plant can be small when it’s purchased, but will grow into a one-metre tree over time. If you want to keep it small, keep it in a small pot. If you want it to grow, put it in the next size pot each spring and it will respond with new growth.
6. Peace Lily (Spathyphlum)
A plant that will tolerate low light is the Peace Lily (Spathyphlum)
It makes a bold statement with its broad, shiny green leaves. In spring, they can grow attractive white bracts with a creamy yellow spathe-type flower. Keep them in an east-facing window or bright-filtered light, and keep their soil moist.
7. Dracaena Janet Craig
If you’re looking for a plant that will grow quite large, try Dracaena Janet Craig.
Its dark green foliage makes it an attractive plant with five to seven centimetre leaves that can grow up to 1.5 metres long. It will also tolerate low light and dryness, making it a popular choice for many places.
This variety can grow to three metres tall with a one-metre spread.
Did You Know?
- Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) releases more oxygen into the air at night, making it a good plant to keep in your bedroom.
- Houseplants must be healthy to provide benefits. Sick plants—diseased or insect infested plants—add to poor air quality. But most can be easily cured, so don’t throw them out right away.
- Houseplants make great gifts for housewarmings, get wells, birthdays and Christmas. What better way to say “I want you to live long and healthy!”
Just make sure you keep them well covered and warm when delivering them in cold weather. Most houseplants will lose a few leaves when being moved from one environment to another.
Don’t panic. The plant will become acclimatized within a few weeks.