I’m an Addict!
Posted by Gail | Filed under Gail Pleasures
There, I said it. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m addicted to three things: houseplants, books and tea. Well, maybe four: Chocolate, though I would sooner live without chocolate than without my houseplants.
At one count I had 64 houseplants. I have more now. I started layering plants inside of my bigger puts to get that same look you get with your outdoor plants. So I have maidenhair fern growing under my banana tree in the front window of my office at home. I have two baker’s racks in those same windows, layered in plant along with four other floor models.
I would not survive the winter without my houseplants; they keep me sane. Sometimes they do less well and I’m forced to toss them out into the yard for clean-up in the spring. Sometimes they eek their way through the winter and I return them to the sunroom (which I can use for three seasons) or the front porch to fatten them up again.
Do you know that NASA scientists have done a bunch of research on plants that can be used to purify the air as part of their preparation for space station habitats? While all plants do purify the air to some degree, there are some superstars in terms of removing the main household toxins from the air (including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.) So if you have a fear of cancer, are susceptible to asthma or allergies, or are concerned about auto-immune disorders, certain plants will clean your air of the negatives. Me, I just love the plants. Here are some of my favs that are particularly good at air-cleaning.
Aloe Vera is an easy plant to care for because it likes to dry out between watering. It’s also very useful if you get a burn or a skin rash, assuming you’re not allergic to it.
Boston Ferns are good too, though I don’t have much luck keeping them alive during the winter because they like damp soil and bright light. If you have a south facing window, that might work for you.
Corn Cane does great in both low light and low water so it does okay over the winter as long as I don’t fuss over it too much.
English Ivy is fabulous for removing all kinds of yuck from the air. It likes indirect sunlight too. I always tend to overwater them so my solution has been to grow my ivy in water. Then I never have to worry about too much or too little.
Gerbera Daisies are fabulous at absorbing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen in a flash, so it’s a good one to grow in your bedroom because you’ll sleep better.
Philodendrons are among the best houseplants for removing gunk from the air. And so easy to grow. Again, if you tend to over or underwater, just grow it in water and you’re set.
Spider plants are some of my faves. If your spider plant starts to do poorly it may be that the roots have grown too big for the pot and it’s having trouble feeding properly. Pull that puppy out of the pot, rip off all those big fat roots (they almost look like tubers) and repot with fresh soil and the smallest roots still intact. Bam!
Benjamina is one of my fave houseplants. It doesn’t like to be moved around a lot. It’s both bright light and shade tolerant, but wherever you put it, leave it the hell alone or it’ll drop its leaves like a hussy drops her drawers. Water moderately.
The NASA study suggests a six-inch plant for each 100 square feet of interior space if you’re using plants to clean your air. I’ve got that ratio beat.