Do you have plants in your home? Any at all? Not fake but real live luscious plants. It is so important to have plants in our homes and here is 3 reasons why:
#1. They purify the air we breathe! With cold weather around the corner, we all will be sealing up our homes. Without constant ventilation through the house, the air gets stuffy and the quality of the air indoors will decrease. Have you ever heard of VOCs (volatile organic compounds)? These compounds released into our homes everyday and negatively effect our family’s acting as carcinogens, causing unexplained headaches, skin or mental irritation, low energy and brain fog. For example, new carpet’s can release these types of chemical gases up to 10 years after installation. Other common sources of VOC’s are paint, household products, dry cleaning, furnishing, plastics, automobile emissions from the garage that is most likely directly attached to your house, mould, air fresheners, appliances, etc.. Plants clean up toxic gases and in return give off oxygen and healthier air!
#2. Plants make you feel better! A recent study from the School of Psychology at Cardiff University show that plants in the office space and at home increase well-being and productivity by 15%! I don’t know how they came up with that number, but in my opinion, it’s at least 50%! Less mental fatigue, less occurrences of headaches, boosts energy, lifting your spirit and increasing alertness are some of the changes you’ll notice in a room filled with foliage compared to a room without.
#3. Plants decorate your home! Lush leafy greens and florals are great decor. Plants provide movement and a vibrant feeling more than the most expensive painting could. Feng Shui masters and interior decorators love to decorate with indoor plants and love to create flow through the home using specific positionment of plants. Green and blue colours give a calming atmosphere while columnar and expansive shapes create good energy. The best part…. plants never go out of style.
I walked around Valleyview Gardens to pick up some plants and take some pictures for you guys. My favourite 12 plants to have in your home are as followed with their american/common and (latin) names so they are easy to find. I hope you pick whichever plants you think will suit you best. Enjoy!
- Snake plant/Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sanseverieria trifasciata)
This is one of the coolest looking plants on the list in my opinion. NASA actually did a “Clean Air Study” on this plant and found amazing things! According to this study, Sansaveria is “effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air—chemicals that have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation” (Pinola, 2015). The best part about Mother-in-law’s tongue (despite it’s hilarious name) is that it is almost impossible to kill. Low light and irregular watering? The plant will thrive!
- Aloe Vera
Aloe isn’t the strongest air purifier but I am still giving it a spot on my list because I just love having it in the house. I use it as shaving cream, to soothe my skin after a wax or after a day in the sun, to put on eczema, to use as eye gel for anti-puffiness (I put the leaf in the fridge for 30 mins beforehand), etc.. Some people even add the gel to water and drink it to aid with constipation. Aloe vera has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes for years. All you have to do is crack open the leaves and scrape out the gel. Great to have it always on hand and I only need to water mine once a week.
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
This one is especially for anyone with smokers and asthmatics in the household! Ivy is great for clearing benzene, one of the most harmful chemicals that can be traced to cigarettes and other irritants. Ivy does well in bright light with it’s soil kept on the dry side (water occasionally in small amounts).
- Fern (Aspidiaceae)
Fern’s are boring in my opinion but apparently the BEST air purifying plant that keeps the room feeling fresh. If you’re new to indoor plants, maybe start with a simple fern and then add to your plant collection once you’ve noticed the changes in your mood and health after having it for a while. Ferns are super easy to find. Just go to your grocery store and I’m sure you can pick one up there. Just remember, bright light and damp soil to keep your fern happy.
- Peace Lilly (Spathiphyllum araceae)
Say goodbye to benzene and mould in your air! These two compounds are found generally in the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms so I suggest those are the places where peace lillies belong. Ever been in the laundry room folding, ironing and changing loads and then start to get a headache, light headed or tired? This is common. Add a peace lilly in your laundry room to avoid this typical VOC sickness. Just give it lots of water, less often and keep it in bright indirect lighting.
- Gerber Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
I love this plant and use it in my bedroom at my parents’ house. The main reason is because it eats up all the carbon monoxide and releases tons of oxygen while you sleep overnight. I have a pool heater that emits toxic carbon monoxide right infront of my bedroom’s basement window. Even though the window stays sealed shut, I feel a lot safer and wake up with more energy ever since I started bringing this plant downstairs to sleep when I’m visiting. My parents think I’m such a hippy bringing plants downstairs with me at night but it really makes a difference in how I feel! The only reason why I have to keep bringing it upstairs every morning is because this plant likes bright light.
- Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Jade made my list not for it’s air purifying qualities but for being recommended as the top Feng Shui plant. Also known as the money plant, Feng Shui says it will bring prosperity, good luck, mental clarity and friendship. I like the glossy leaves and that it is easy to take care of. In Asia, you will see this plant in the front of local businesses to bring good energy/wealth and it is common to give as a gift to someone you do business with or to a good friend.
- Mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Mum’s are great for brightening up a room and looking pretty while detoxifying the air at the same time. If you love a floral bloom on your plants, this is the one for you. I especially like this for the fall. This plant keeps me feeling well and is nice to be around if you’re battling a cold. Keep the soil moist and a room with bright windows.
- Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis)
I have 3 of these in my condo in Toronto. I live off the 401 highway so having this plant in my house makes sure that my air isn’t filled with the automobile emissions from the traffic down below. I love the look of Dracaena plants and how they make me feel good. My dining table is my study area so that’s where I keep the Janet Craig plant. I am able to focus without brain fog and don’t get overly tired even when the sun sets as I study. Definately recommend this one for your desk or office space with indirect sunlight!
- Orchids (Phalaenopsis)
My obsession for orchids began while travelling Thailand and seeing all the wild orchids grow naturally on the trees! Not only does this plant look stunning but is also super easy to take care of, lasts forever AND it clears VOC’s and formaldehyde from your air! Orchids deal well in exotic climates so make sure there is humidity, lots of light and you can allow it to dry completely before needing to water it again.
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
I love this plant especially in the winter! Adding it to a main room like a dining room or family room makes you feel like you’re in tropical paradise! It’s a gorgeous plant that improves air quality and acts as a natural humidifier to help you feel healthy and rejuvenated just like how you would feel on a vacation in the Caribbean! Keep this plant moist and in light but don’t let the soil get soggy.
- Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum)
This plant is best in full shaded rooms with low light availability. It releases a high amount of oxygen and cleans carcinogenic chemicals from the air. I love the two-toned leaves and at this nursery I buy the mini versions.
OTHER TIPS FOR AIR QUALITY
- Keep outdoor shoes outdoors (have a basket in the garage or directly infront of the front door). Never tell someone to keep their shoes on coming into your home!
- Ditch the synthetic air fresheners (febreeze, glade scented candles, airwicks, plug-ins, etc.)
- Ventilate by opening all the windows. I do this at least once a week no matter the weather just to get some fresh air circulating around the house. During fall and spring (days with mild weather) you should keep the windows open everyday.
- Dry clean clothing only when absolutely necessary and inquire about an eco-friendly dry cleaner.
- Renovating? Swap the new carpet for hardwood or tile.
- Keep windows open in the garage or keep the garage door open just a crack at all times during the day. Better yet.. just park outside and start your car outside!
-Environmental Lecture by Dr. Phil Rouchotas at CCNM, Toronto 2016