Houseplants

For centuries it has been acknowledged that plants are beneficial for our physical and mental well-being, and more recent studies have quantified why plants are so important in our modern environment.

Today’s homes, schools, hospitals and offices buildings tend to be well sealed, insulated and heated and this has been found to result in poor indoor air quality.  Sick Building Syndrome – where symptoms including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, fatigue and irritability, chest tightness and wheezing, skin dryness and/or irritation are reported – is now understood to relate air quality.   Furnishings, detergents, wall coverings and paints can all give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – a large group of substances including toluene, xylene, benzene etc. which can result in these symptoms.

NASA has a particular interest in air quality in sealed environments such as space stations, and their studies have found that houseplants are very effective at removing pollutants and improving air quality.  Their findings were supported by scientists from the University of Copenhagen who carried out a wide-ranging review of over 100 studies into the impact of houseplants on air quality.

Different houseplants absorb pollutants at different rates, and below we have highlighted some of those that are most effective.  And the good news is that houseplants are both aesthetically pleasing and inexpensive!

Flowering cactus (Schlumbergera)

With wonderful flowers at certain times of year, and attractive foliage all year round, this is one of the easiest houseplants you can choose.

To get the best from your Flowering Cactus:

  • They like plenty light, but prefer indirect to direct light
  • Keep in warm, even temperatures
  • Remove dead flowers and foliage to keep the plant healthy
  • Water and mist regularly, but do not overwater
  • Feed with a houseplant food

 

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

 This beautiful plant can improve your indoor air quality by as much as 60%. It reduces the levels of mould spores and can absorb harmful household vapours including benzene, ammonia and acetone.
In bathrooms, the Peace Lily helps keep shower tiles and curtains free from mildew.

To get the best from your Peace Lily:

  • Consider their natural habitat- warm, moist, slightly shaded rainforests
  • Keep in warm, even temperatures
  • Remove dead flowers and foliage to keep the plant healthy
  • Water and mist regularly, but do not overwater
  • Feed with a houseplant food

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum)

The ever-popular Spider plant can remove up to 90% of the toxins
in your indoor air in just two days!
The leaves help absorb harmful substances like mould and other allergens so its the perfect plant for those with common dust allergies.

To get the best from your Chlorophytum:

  • Provide indirect light,  but avoid direct sunlight which can scorch
  • It is very tolerant of temperatures, providing they are above 5 degrees
  • Water regularly.  If the tips of the leaves turn brown, mist the plant
  • Feed with a general purpose houseplant fertiliser

Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Simply by being there, plants make us feel better,
reduce stress and have a positive effect on concentration and memory.
Phalaenopsis orchid blooms are perfect and beautiful, bloom for 3 months or more and require remarkably little care and attention.

To get the best from your Phalaenopsis:

  • Ensure good light levels, but avoid direct sunlight
  • Keep in warm, even temperatures and avoid draughts
  • Water regularly ensuring that the roots are neither water-logged or dried out completely. Mist in summer for humidity
  • Feed with a specialist orchid food

Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

A native of Asia and Australia, the weeping fig can reach 30m in its natural habitat. Particularly good at absorbing Xylene, Toluene and Formaldehyde which are found in furniture and common household products.
Available in a range of leaf colours including variegated varieties.

To get the best from your Weeping Fig:

  • Tolerant of direct and indirect sunlight, but sensitive to draughts and abrupt changes in light levels
  • Keep in warm, even temperatures
  • Water regularly and mist.
  • Clean the foliage from time to time to allow good light absorption
  • Feed with a general houseplant food

Aloe Vera

Known by the Egyptians as the “plant of immortality”, the gel of this succulent has been recognised for its healing properties for more than 6000 years.  Research continues today into its efficacious applications.

Effective in removing benzene – an air-borne pollutant that is found in detergents and plastics.  Also known to remove formaldehyde which is found in varnishes and floor finishes.

Mother in law’s Tongue (Sanseviera)

Native to west Africa, the Sansevaria is a very efficient air-purifier, removing 4 out of 5 of the main indoor airborne toxins. It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen overnight and so is particularly recommended for the bedroom.

Chrysanthemum

A favourite for its attractive flowers, the Chrysanthemum plant is excellent at mopping up many of the invisible pollutants in the air.

Place it in a sunny position and let it get on with purifying your air!

Ivy (Hedera helix)

The ivy has been shown to reduce the number of unsavoury air-borne particles, and is efficient in removing formaldehyde; a component in many household cleaning products. It’s therefore an ideal plant for bathrooms and toilets which have natural light.

Poinsettias

Traditionally associated with Christmas, the Poinsettia is a native of Mexico and is extremely tender.

Our Pionsettias are grown by Pentland Plants and transported in heated conditions to avoid the plants being chilled.  Purchase your Poinsettia from a reputable supplier to ensure that your plant hasn’t been chilled and remains bright and cheerful throughout the Festive Season.

  •  Ensure that the plant does not get cold – even for a few minutes
  • Give them plenty light and a minimum temperature of 13C
  • Water sparingly and mist regularly
  • Feed with Poinsettia or general houseplant food

Amaryllis

For sheer drama, the Amaryllis is difficult to beat!  With large, spectacular flowers on long, graceful stems, this bulb can be grown on year after year.