If you’re a mom, you want to keep your kids healthy. There are so many germs at school and daycare. Sure, you can’t avoid contact with sickness when you’re out and about, but when you’re at home there’s a lot you can do. Did you know that you can improve the health of your family using houseplants? Plants can also make you happier. Who wouldn’t want these advantages? Let me explain…
There is scientific research about plants and what they can do to contribute to your health and happiness indoors. Certain types of plants are better than others.
Houseplants Clean the Indoor Air
Lots of items inside our homes release toxic gases.
When you buy new furniture there is a high chance of it off-gassing with formaldehyde. And if you have a printer in a home office you’ll be emitting substances like xylene, toluene and trichloroethylene fumes into the air from the printer.
Fabrics, mattresses, curtains, blinds, floor coverings and many more items can release toxic gases into your home. Your kids are breathing these toxins. Heck, the whole family is breathing it.
If you have poor ventilation in your home you are also likely to have a higher chance of poor indoor air quality. Air purifying plants can help.
Many people do not open their doors and windows much these days because they rely on air conditioning. And if you’re at work all day and the kids are at school all day, chances are that you don’t ventilate the house much during the work week.
There is scientific research to show that houseplants can remove dangerous pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, ammonia and more from the air in your home. NASA was one of the first to complete a study on the effect of plants to improve indoor air quality.
Perfect Houseplants for the Living Room
There are many air purifying plants to choose from that are both suitable for the decor in your living room as well as helping to remove the toxins. Here are some of the best. You can click any of the images to see the price of each plant on Amazon.
Anthurium (above) – I always choose Anthuriums with pink flowers but there are ones with red or white flowers available too. The flower is a bit like a tear-drop shape and it sticks up above the lush dark green leaves. I love the color it adds to a room. The Anthurium is good at removing air toxins like Formaldehyde, Xylene, Toluene and Ammonia.
Corn Plant (shown above) (also known as Happy Plant or Dracaena Fragrans Massangeana) – this is a good plant for removing Formaldehyde from your living room. The long green leaves have a stripe pattern along the center. This is a very attractive plant to place on a lower surface like a coffee table because it is a vertical design and only takes a small footprint of space.
Parlor Palm (see above) – I like to place Parlor Palms in a couple of different corners in my living room. They are good beside a wall because they spread out and look stunning with the wall as a backdrop. Palms help remove Carbon Monoxide, Benzene and Formaldehyde.
Pothos (the one above comes in a planter) – every place I’ve ever worked has included Pothos plants in the offices. This is such a hardy plant. If you don’t have a green thumb, this is an easy plant to keep alive. It will grow in low light making it ideal for indoor environments. By keeping it in your living room, it will help remove Carbon Monoxide, Benzene and Formaldehyde.
Rubber Tree (the one above is a burgundy variety) (also known as Ficus Elastica) – the Rubber Tree is coming back into fashion in home decor. Its shiny green or burgundy leaves look great in your living room. You can choose from different varieties depending on the size and color you want for your home. The Rubber Tree is great at removing Formaldehyde from your room.
Gerbera – Want more color in your living room?
Choose a Gerbera daisy plant. The flowers are available in pink, red, yellow, orange or even blue colors. You can choose the best color to match your decor.
Gerberas are fun to grown and they’re loved by children as well as adults.
If you purchase seeds you can make it a family project with the kids. A Gerbera is good at removing Benzene, Carbon Monoxide and Formaldehyde.
Perfect Houseplant for the Bathroom
The Peace Lily is a perfect plant for a bathroom. I keep a large Peace Lily in my main bathroom. It is huge compared to the size of the pot it’s in so I keep wondering how it survives. But it does. It loves the humidity of the bathroom and it is lush with large green leaves.
Why is the Peace Lily good for the bathroom?
The Peace Lily removes many toxins including: Acetone, Formaldehyde, Ethyl Acetate, Ammonia, Benzene, Methyl Alcohol, Trichloroethylene and Xylene.
Do you use nail polish remover in the bathroom? You’ll want to get rid of that Acetone in the air.
Is there Ammonia in your bathroom cleaning products? You won’t want that hanging around.
And what about baby wipes? Do you use them on your kids or to remove make-up? Some brands contain bronopol which breaks down to release formaldehyde. You’ll want to get rid of that toxin from your bathroom.
A Peace Lily houseplant can help you with all of these scenarios listed above. This plant is one of the ultimate air purifiers. Sure, a plant won’t remove all the toxins in your home but it can definitely help, especially if it’s a Peace Lily.
Air Purifying Plants for a Home Office
If you have a home office with computer and printer, you’ll want certain types of air purifying plants in there with you. The printer is likely to be exposing you to Xylene and Toluene. And you’re sure to have furniture, carpet or office products that are releasing Formaldehyde. Pens and markers can expose you to Xylene.
Here are the air purifying plants you’ll like best for your home office.
Snake Plant (above) (also called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, real name Sansevieria) will help reduce Formaldehyde, Xylene and Toluene. This plant is drought tolerant so if you forget to water it, you’ll be okay. With its tall pointy leaves it is not as welcoming as other plants. But it makes a bold statement and looks great on top of a filing cabinet or in front of a tall window on the sill.
ZZ Plant (above) (also called a Zanzibar or Zamioculcas Zamiifolia) will survive in low light or artificial light. So it’s perfect for a home office if you forget to open the curtains on the weekend. This plant will survive if you forget to water it too. It will help to get rid of Xylene and Toluene. It is more lush than the Snake Plant because it has deep green leaves in a classic leaf shape giving it a more traditional houseplant appearance. And yet it is one of the best air purifying plants.
Dracaena (shown above) (lots of varieties available) will be fine in low light and is perfect for an office or home office. Personally, I’m always surprised that the Dracaena is so good at removing toxins because its leaves are so thin and pointy. I always imagine that the best toxin absorbing plants are the lushest ones with the biggest leaves, but not so. The Dracaena is excellent at helping to remove toxins including Formaldehyde, Xylene and Toluene.
Houseplants Help to Reduce Stress
There have been studies done on the effects of indoor plants on people working or studying inside a building. A South Korean study reported that men working in a room with houseplants were more comfortable and relaxed and less tense and anxious than a room without plants.
Also, a Washington State University study showed that workers had a 12% increase in reaction time when doing computer based tasks when the room contained plants. The people in the study also experienced a reduction in blood pressure. They also reported feeling more attentive than the people in the room with no plants.
Some plants are specifically known for being relaxing because of their scent. Studies have been done on the Lavender plant.
The Lavender plant is known to help you relax. If you need to relax before bed, run your fingers through the flowers and leaves of a Lavender plant and breathe in that wonderful scent.
Lavender is easy to grow in a container inside or outside. I like to place a pot of Lavender on my back deck and then bring it indoors on certain days or nights for variety.
Houseplants Increase Humidity
Scientific research has shown that the drier the air, the more viruses spread. During winter when we heat our homes, the air becomes drier. Plants can help to increase the relative humidity in the air in your home.
Therefore, you can use air purifying plants for double benefits.
Sure, you can use a humidifier, but since plants have multiple benefits, why not put them to work in the rooms in your house. Plants keep doing a great job all the time. You don’t need to remember to turn them on like a humidifier and the natural existence of a plant in your room will help the whole family feel happier.
Houseplants Make You Feel Better
Of course, you can use indoor plants to personalize and decorate your home. But they do more than that. Houseplants can actually make you feel better.
A Norwegian study showed that indoor plants reduced fatigue in workers by 30%. Their coughs were reduced by 37%. And dry itchy skin was reduced by 23%.
But beware of which color plants you choose.
An Egyptian study presented different plant leaf variegation to male subjects. Evidence was shown that green-yellow and bight green leafed plants should be used where comfort and calmness are required. Whereas, red and dark green plants can be used to improve energy in places like offices and children’s play areas. But here is the one to beware of. Green-white plants stimulated mostly negative emotions.
I was interested to read this because I naturally choose the green-yellow or bright green leaf plants for the rooms in my home. Now I know why! In my family we all need more “calm” in our lives.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many things children learn from plants? And when the plants are indoors they are even more likely to learn from them because the houseplants are there with them constantly, even through the winter months. Air purifying plants can also be educational.
My kids help me water the plants. They also pour out any leftover water in their drink bottles at the end of the day onto the plants. They know that there are toxins in the air and the plants help to make our air cleaner. Admittedly, we also grow herbs and vegetables outside so there is plenty of exposure to plants and how they grow. But if you don’t have a yard it’s even more important to include houseplants as part of your decor.
My kids tell me which one is their favorite plant and why. We have lots of discussions about plants which benefits everyone.
I highly recommend adding a few extra houseplants to your home this weekend.
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