The Best House Plants
Did you know NASA recommends one houseplant per 100 square feet for cleaner indoor air in your home? Their 2-year long Clean Air Study showed that plants can help to remove volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) from the air. They found that both plant leaves and roots worked well to remove these toxic vapors.
Nowadays, pollution can not only be found in the outdoor air of dense cities—but everywhere around us. In fact, more than 107 million Americans live in areas with unhealthy amounts of ozone and other toxins. Part of the solution could point to the air cleaning power of house plants. But if you have been burned by a ghost of house plant past, you could have feelings of hesitation when thinking about taking on new plant. Don’t stress—we are here to empower you with not only some of the best air purifying house plants, but the hardiest as well. Here are the top three must-have house plants that are also low maintenance.
Best House Plants: Monstera Deliciosa
Split-Leaf Philodendron—also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, or Monstera Deliciosa, is probably one of the most well-known house plants due to their stunningly large and iconic leaves that split in bright, indirect light. Philodendrons are known specifically for their ability to remove formaldehyde from the air. They are easy to maintain, and very forgiving if you happen to be forgetful about watering. You can tell when they need water when their leaves start to fold out over the edges. In addition, they are extremely easy to propagate and quick to take root. In truth, propagating regularly will keep the mother plant healthy and at a more manageable size.
To propagate, simply cut below a node and place it in water. A node is the thin line that circles around the stem, usually near a branch or shoot. Make sure the water does not turn murky during the rooting process. If it does, dump it out and replace it with fresh water. The new roots should form in about 2-4 weeks. You can add fertilizer, but as long as you repot it annually with new soil, it will still thrive.
Best House Plants: Epipremnum Aureum
Next on our list is the Pothos plant—also known as Devil’s Ivy, or Epipremnum Aureum. They come in a variety of gorgeous heart-shaped leaf patterns and colors, including Jade and Pearls, Marble Queen, and Golden Pothos—the fastest growing type. They also thrive on bright and indirect light. However, if the transition is slow, they are tolerant of most conditions and can take limited direct sunlight. They leave beautiful, vining trails that complement any home or piece of furniture.
Pothos plants are one of the most effective indoor air purifiers for removing common toxins. They would excel in a well-lit garage as it can clean benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene, and more from the air. Fortunately, they are also very easy to propagate so you can have your very own fresh air forest quickly. To propagate, cut below a node and place in water. Roots should form in approximately 1-2 weeks, making sure that the water stays clear.
At the top of our list, we have the Snake Plant—also known as Mother in Law’s Tongue, or Dracaena Trifasciata. Some refer to this plant as Sansivieria, but please note that it has recently merged into the Dracaena genus. Native to West Africa, it is a beautiful, upright plant with long, slender leaves that can grow up to several feet tall when indoors. But don’t worry about clearing a large space for it just yet. Compared to other house plants, Snake Plants can be the slowest to grow, especially in low light conditions.
It is renowne for being an extremely low-maintenance plant. They are the most tolerant of the 3 on this list and are truly difficult to kill. Their cactus-like hardiness allows them to go without water for some time. Although it would thrive with bright light as its former two counterparts, it would also be completely happy in a corner with low light. There are different types of Snake Plants—such as Black Gold, Golden Hahnii, and the rare Moonshine with its gorgeously pale silver-toned leaves. However, if your pets tend to chew on plants, please pass on this one as it is toxic to them. Another alternative would be to place it well out of their reach.
The Benefits Are Endless
Regardless of the reason for adopting new green dependents, or how many you choose to get, there are plenty of benefits to gain from indoor plants. They convert our exhaled carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen, improve our mood by acting as a natural antidepressant, and increase humidity. The latter is important because it has shown to decrease dry skin, sore throats, and dry coughs and colds. Surprisingly, having plants in the home can also boost creativity, productivity, and focus, reduce fatigue, lower stress, foster healing and increase pain tolerance.
Caring for indoor plants can be a rewarding and healthy move towards cleaner indoor air in your home. Not only are they lovely to look at, but they can also provide a more energy efficient way of trapping indoor air pollutants. Since there are many toxins that we encounter daily such as acetone, formaldehyde and benzene,
we need all the help we can get. Good ventilation is also key. As a two-part plan to combat indoor toxins, make sure to regularly let fresh outdoor air circulate and flow through your home.
Taking the Plunge
Apart from those mentioned here, some of the other air purifying super stars include the Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, Spider Plant, or Dumb Cane. Any of these would make great gifts to those you love as well. If you are considering any plants outside of those listed above, make sure to do your research in advance. It can be stressful when you lose a plant. Look for other indoor gardener’s reviews regarding a plant’s care requirements to ensure it is a good fit for your home. With the right selections, your home will soon be brightened with a splash of color and air you can feel comfortable about breathing.