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Breath Easier With Houseplants

Houseplants do much more than add decoration to the home; these hardworking beauties can help improve your quality of life. By Abby Lapides

Zebra Plant Calathea zebrina

In the early 90s NASA – yep, that NASA that landed a man on the moon – released a study about air filtering houseplants. According to NASA one of the best air purifiers, mother-in-law’s tongue, also known as snake plant, or my favorite – viper’s bowstring, just happens to be one of the easiest to grow houseplants around. They grow in just about any light condition and are very forgiving if you forget to water. In fact the #1 way to kill one of these is to water it too frequently.  The striking variety ‘Zeylanica’ features silver-green foliage with dark green bands. Though viper’s bowstring has been used as a houseplant for a long time, its stiff upright nature gives this plant an architectural modern look. Unlike many plants, viper’s bowstring converts C02 into oxygen at night, making it an excellent plant for bedrooms.

 

In more studies added health benefits discovered of houseplants were a reduction in health issues in classrooms, and reduced sick leave and eyestrain in offices. One great houseplant, Aloe, may be the most popular succulent on the planet. The soft green, long fleshy foliage with silver accents is a stunning houseplant, but it’s the healing properties that are on the inside that makes this plant so popular. The jelly-like interior has been used for many years to treat burns. Studies have shown that it may reduce the healing time of burns by 9 days. Aloe prefers sunny spots and dry soil.

Dry eyes, itchy throats come winter? Turning the heat on in the home can have some unpleasant side effects. Add a houseplant! They can increase humidity upwards of 10% in a room.  ‘Burgundy’ rubber plant has large, dark glossy green leaves with burgundy highlights. This larger plant looks great on the ground next to a fireplace or a television area. The rubber plant can handle low light and low water; be sure to keep it away from cold winter drafts and only water when the soil is dry.

Procrastination can be a tricky habit to overcome. In one study, 98% of the people surveyed believed that the presence of plants increased work motivation- I wish I would have known that in college! One plant that may decrease productivity is the rattlesnake plant. I say this because this plant is so interesting, instead of getting work done all you’ll want to do is stare at this captivating plant. Rattlesnake plant features bright green narrow leaves that are polka-dotted with dark green spots and have a purple underside. The leaves burst out of the center crown looking like a firework of fascinating foliage. Be sure to keep its soil evenly moist and plant in well drained potting mix.

Pain and stress- two items most of us want to eliminate from our lives. Well, I can’t say that houseplants are the magic cure, but they have been known to reduce both of these in hospital patients. Surgical patients that recovered with plants in their room took less pain relievers and breast cancer patients were reported to better tolerate life’s disruptions from treatment after interacting with plants. For those brown-thumbed people out there try planting the parlor palm. One of the most forgiving houseplants, you won’t have to stress over its care. Parlor palms feature narrow green stalks and foliage that forms into an airy upright plant. There’s no need to worry about the palm taking over your home as this slow growing houseplant usually maxes out at around 4’. This is another plant that is usually killed with kindness- water and fertilize your parlor palm sparingly.

With so many benefits it’s easy to see why houseplants are rocketing in popularity. Because of the vast variety available and many being so easy to grow, there’s a houseplant for anyone in just about any location in the house.

See a few of favorite houseplants