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Keeping Healthy with House Plants

Back to My Roots

A Gardening blog by Maggie Smith

Keeping Healthy with House Plants

I have decided to write a blog about gardening and hope to cover topics that will add to what you already know and help you be more successful in your gardening endeavors. Since we are in the middle of winter (if you hadn’t noticed) I decided to start with house plants. One of the best reasons to have some plants in your home is their ability to clean the air. Our homes are more tightly insulated so there is little chance of any fresh air coming in during the long winter months. Our furniture, carpets, and rugs contain chemicals that are released into the air (formaldehyde is one of the most common chemicals). Placing green plants in various rooms (especially important in the bedroom) will help clean the air of these toxic chemicals. So here is a list of common house plants that are especially good at removing these toxins from your home.

Peace Lily: Thrives in low to medium light and needs infrequent watering.

Peace Lily

Dracena-comes in various shapes and sizes, requires medium light and need a few inches of watering once a week. (Note: It is better use tepid water, not cold water, on your house plants and also leaves are poisonous to pets and children.)

Aloe Vera: In addition to help purify the air, this plant is known for its anti-bacterial and Anti- inflammatory properties. A good plant to have on hand for wound care and burn healing.

Ficus Tree: This tree needs indirect sunlight and infrequent watering. It thrives being moved outdoors in the warm months. Grows up to 10 feet high….you can always keep it cut back. Needs infrequent watering and a little sun.

Snake Plant: This plant is very easy to care for as it needs a little water and sunlight Removes benzene, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene.

Here are 3 easy to grow flowering house plants:

  1. Orchid- there are many types of orchids but the most common ones are the Phalaenopsis. This tropical plant thrives in homes but the most important thing to remember is to keep it out of the sun. While they grow in tropical forests they are understory plant…they get filtered light. The blooms last for 3 to 5 months

  2. Amaryllis- The bulbs for these plants can usually be found in the fall. Another tropical plant, it can be place in direct sunlight. The flower stalk shoots up from the center of the plant and can be 2-3 feet tall with 3-4 flowers.When the flowers die you can pinch off the bud but leave the tall stem until it dies back.

  3. African violet-this well-known plant is readily available and comes in a variety of colors. Some of them have ruffled petals and/or ruffled leaves. It thrives in medium to bright light filtered sunlight, and evenly moist soil. Be careful not to get water on the leaves as this causes the leaf to turn brown and die.

Finally, the seed catalogs began arriving shortly after Christmas. One of my favorites is Select Seeds, a company started by two women and has all female employees. What I like most about it is the offering of heirloom seeds. They have all of the current flowers available but have seeds from plants dating back to the early 1600’s. With the hybridization process, which gives us new colors and larger blooms, often the scent of the flowers disappears. When buying heirloom seeds you won’t get the big blooms but you will have some aromatic plants that will make your cut flower bouquet and your home smell wonderful!

Happy Gardening!

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