Houseplants for Better Health | Health Benefits of Houseplants + 5 Houseplants to Purify Air
I used to exclusively grow succulents. I'm good at it, and succulent gardening is my comfort zone. About 6 months ago though, I learned quite a lot about the amazing health benefits of houseplants and the kind of houseplants that help to purify the air. So I gave some of these houseplants a try, and I'm so glad I did!
When I first told Jon that I wanted to hang a huge pothos Ivy in a macrame hanger in our bedroom, I'm not sure if he was 100% on board. I think he just didn't know what a pothos ivy was haha. So I went to the plant nursery and picked out the biggest, healthiest ivy I could find!
We have this huge spool of twine from when we used to wrap our Cultured Guru Fermented Foods jars in a cute little brown paper tied with twine. So I made a macrame hanger and hung of our new ivy. Now we both love it, so much so that we got a second one.... then a third! Just call us crazy plant people. I've also acquired three other types of houseplants, and converted the bulk of my Aloe vera plant to an indoor plant. I haven't killed any of them yet either! It's actually really fun to take care of plants that I have to water more than once a month.
Health Benefits of Houseplants
We live in an old apartment. It was probably built in the early 70s, so most of the stuff in here is old, dusty and a little worn. Which is fine, I love where we live and we've really made it into our own little home. But, I do like to detox the place, and keep it clean. We do this with essential oils, opening the windows, and house plants!
We regularly open up all the windows on beautiful mornings to let the world in a bit and let the apartment breathe, which is so good for microbiome health. There is such a thing as too clean, especially when "clean" is achieved with toxic chemical "cleaning" products.
We have an amazing essential oil diffuser that I love putting sage and lemon oil in to make our space smell nice... and supposedly sage cleans the air on another spiritual kind of level... I'm here for it.
Now we also have a plethora of houseplants that remove toxins and carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen! There's so many chemicals we are exposed to in the air of our homes, like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, ammonia and other volatile organic compounds. NASA even conducted a study on the effectiveness of houseplants for air purification! The results: get a house plant or maybe 25. (I linked to the wikipedia page about the study, it's probably the easiest to understand, but here is a copy of the published research from NASA). The list of plant species in this paper is not exclusive. Many types of house plants purify the air and produce oxygen. When picking out plants be aware of which types are toxic to pets.
According to NASA you should place one medium sized house plant in your home for every 100 square feet. Looks like I need about 4 more house plants. Guess I've got to go back to the plant store. YAY!
Our five Favorite Houseplants to Purify Air:
California Elephant Ears or Monstera:
First off, I'm only having success with this one indoors because we have two amazing south facing windows. This is the air purifying master in our house. It does so much work, makes lots of oxygen, and in the morning its big leaves actually drip water. We have it potted in succulent soil mix, because it is in a pot the doesn't drain. I give it half a gallon of water about once a month. Another good option for a big-leaf indoor plant is a monstera! Monstera plants do well in more varying light conditions.
Or as I like to call them... THE CUTEST house plants ever. I love them so much that I think I want to collect them. There is a variegated one at the nursery I'm totally going to go get. The two kinds we already have hang by the window in our office. Jon picked out the burgundy variation, and I got the bright green. HUGE plus: these are non-toxic to cats! They need bright indirect sunlight and prefer a humid region like Louisiana. They do best when the soil is allowed to dry out before watering.
What a beautiful houseplant. Really glad I started with these as my first non-succulent house plants. They are arguably the easiest to take care of. Once a week I put them in the shower for 5 minutes to water them, and that seems to be working out perfectly. The two we have both hang in macrame hangers in front of windows with indirect sunlight.
A succulent with purpose! Along with purifying the air, the gel from the inside of the Aloe vera plant can be used in smoothies to soothe stomach aches, and used to help dermal injuries heal faster. Aloe does best when planted in succulent soil mix in a terra-cotta pot. We water ours once a month.
Aka Aphelandra squarrosa. Last time we went to the plant nursery Jon picked this one out. It has beautiful variegated leaves, and produces wonderful yellow flowers. Zebra plants prefer regions of high humidity. We only water ours once the soil has dried out, and the leave start to look a bit droopy.