This week I’m discovering why my favourite indoor plants can improve the quality of air I breathe indoors.
With improved insulation materials making our homes more energy efficient. The gases from synthetic materials and other pollutants are sealed inside our house with us.
Indoor air pollution is a major problem; as we spend a large proportion of our time indoors. Particularly those of us who suffer from illnesses like fibromyalgia.
The likelihood of developing air pollutant related illness can increase. Statistics show there has been an increase in the cases of allergies, asthma, chemical hypersensitivity and cancer due to this.
It was NASA researchers, during the 80s who discovered that plants can purify and refresh the air in sealed compartments. During their research into life support systems for missions into space. Their findings provided the evidence that plants removed volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in a series of tests.
By introducing plants into the home the air quality is refreshed; plants act as natural air purifiers. Being in amongst nature or bringing it indoors has the added benefit of reducing stress levels.
If you work mostly indoors or in an office; buying some plants and keeping them in your environment can, in the long term improve mental and physical health.
Some of the best plants to choose are those that have a high transpiration rate; meaning they carry a larger amount of water from the roots to the leaves. They are more efficient at improving our indoor air quality.
I have chosen some easy to grow varieties for beginners:
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
One of my favourites is peace lily, it’s a foliage plant and it looks attractive with it’s white flowers (spathes).
Peace lily requires semi-shade but not direct sunlight.
It’s easy to grow and look after; although not a good choice if you have pets or young children as it is extremely toxic.
Feeding is required in summer and remove dead leaves and flowers to promote new growth.
Water in summer keeping the compost moist and less watering required in winter. Misting the leaves occasionally will help to improve humidity. Keep out of cold draughts.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
A spider plant is easy and quick to grow and look after.
It prefers a partially sunny and shady spot, and it’s ok with dry air.
Water regularly letting the soil dry before rewatering again.
In winter less watering is required and feeding with house plant food in the summer. Occasional misting in summer if it’s very hot. Dead leaves and unwanted runners can be pruned.
The spider plant produces runners on which mini plants form; these are great for propagating into new plants.
Wait until they have grown to a reasonable size and then cut off the runner. Plant on in a small pot with compost.
Common Ivy (Hedera helix)
Ivy looks very attractive with its trailing foliage. Many ivy varieties exist; including variegated versions.
Ivy is a climbing plant with aerial roots which can be trained to grow on trellis and other structures outdoors as well as indoors.
Ivy is easy to grow and care for plant.
Ivy prefers a shaded site and can be grown in full shade. Keep out of direct sunlight in summer.
Water regularly keeping compost moist and feed in summer. Regular misting in winter and summer in hot dry conditions indoors.
Dead leaves and unwanted growth can be pruned to keep it looking healthy.
Have I included any of your favourites here? If you have any suggestions please let me know.