spider plant

Houseplants Clean Indoor Air

Houseplants Clean Indoor Air

Lois Hole

As winter time nears, doors and windows of most homes are well sealed and tightly shut against the cold outdoors. Along with the cold, however, we are also keeping out fresh air. With so much more time spent indoors, the quality of the air within is more of a concern in the fall and winter.

Many homeowners are surprised when they realize the number of air-pollutants that are commonly found in most of our homes. New or newly-renovated houses especially, with their freshly painted walls and bran new carpeting, can have a high level of potentially harmful pollutants.

It is, however, fairly easy to compensate for that fact by simply filling your home with attractive houseplants. Studied by NASA have found that certain houseplants actually “clean” the air of harmful chemicals, such as benzene trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

Benzene is a petroleum distillate commonly used as a solvent, and is found in gasoline, inks, oils, paint, plastic and rubber. It is also used in the manufacturing of detergents, pharmaceuticals and dyes.

Trichloroethylene is a commercial product used in some printing inks, paints, varnishes, adhesives and dry cleaning. Formaldehyde is found in virtually all indoor environments. Sources include foam insulation, particle board, pressed wood products, furniture and carpeting. It can also be found in grocery bags, waxed paper, facial tissue and paper towels.

Many common houseplants combat these pollutants. For a bright light situation, choose an attractive flowering plant. Both Pot Mums (Chrysanthemum) and Gerbera Daisies (Transvaal daisy) bloom in a variety of colours to brighten rooms as well as purify indoor air.

The Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea siefritzii), English Ivy, Fig Tree (Ficus benjamina) and several types of Dracaena (Dracaena massangcana, Dracaena marginata, Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’, and Dracaena warneckei) are helpful, handsome plants that do best in a medium to bright diffused light.

Low light areas will support Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema modestum), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllm ‘Mauna Loa’) and Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant (Sansevieria laurentii). The snake plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow.

In almost any location, grow Spider Plants. These houseplants have green or variegated leaves and do well in bring or low light situations. The “spiders” that form on trailing stems can be repotted or simply plunked into a jar of water; they will grow for years- even with no soil.

Hole's Houseplant Of The Week!

Browse Hole's wide selection of indoor & tropical plants today!


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Bird of Paradise

Boasting large, paddle-shaped leaves that emerge right from the soil, this plant has the potential to reach great heights—up to 7ft tall!

With time, your Bird of Paradise plant may produce exotic, colourful flowers, resembling a bird. This may take 4 or 5 years and is less common indoors.

But don't worry about the flowers! Even without flowers, this plant fills an indoor space beautifully, and is known as one of the best large indoor plants.


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Albuca

This unusual plant, has narrow, cylindrical leaves that emerge from a bulbous base and curl into springs and coils! Flowers are pendant, yellow-green, and smell of green olives.

Grow on a sunny windowsill in a well-drained medium, and allow soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in winter.


Red-Edged Dracaena

There are many Dracaena plants. This distinctive version is distinguished by the purple-red edges on its ribbon-like green leaves. This plant grows slowly, but is capable of reaching heights of 8-15ft.

Dracaenas grow best in bright, indirect light. Although this plant can tolerate a wide range of conditions, it will grow best in a well lit, warm, humid space - like the kitchen!


Fiddle Leaf Fig

Don't let this tropical plant fool you... it is a tough plant that adapts easily to its environment. This houseplant grows quickly and can grow up to 6 feet tall! Maintenance is minimal - pruning and watering are simple, just keep your Fiddle Leaf Fig in bright, indirect light and you will be the owner of a happy plant. 

 

 

 

 


Spider Plant

This week's feature is the Chlorophytum comosum, also known as the Spider Plant. These plants rarely present problems and are very adaptable, making them great for new gardeners or anyone looking for some low maintenance greenery. These plants are also fantastic air cleaners! Put one in your child's bedroom, bathroom, or any room that could stand to be freshened up. 

With light watering and indirect sunlight, your spider plant will produce flowers, which dangle from the mother plant. These flowers will eventually develop into babies or “spiderettes,” creating a spider-web-like appearance, hence the name!

The best way to grow “spiderettes” into their own plant is to allow them to remain attached to the mother plant and plant in soil in a neighbouring pot. Once the “spiderette” has rooted in its own pot you are free to cut it away from the mother plant.


Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is a resilient household plant with amazing air cleaning capabilities, so much so, that it has secured a spot on NASA’s list of “Top 10 Household Air Cleaning Plants.” Peace Lilies clean all 5 of the most common household toxins in the air!

Dubbed a “Reminder Plant”, Peace Lilies let you know when they require water by sagging slightly. This visual queue not only makes them easy to care for, but can also be used as a reminder for other tasks. It is this “reminding” quality that makes them a great plant for students or that forgetful friend of yours.

Be aware that the leaves are poisonous for both humans and animals, so keep them away from children and pets.


Fig Tree

This week's Hole's Houseplant is none other than the Fig Tree! Fig Trees are the classic indoor plants and come in several different varieties including Weeping, Bonsai, Saber Leaf, Fiddle Leaf, Variegated, and Braided—to name a few!

Fig Trees come in sizes both big and small and can tolerate a fairly wide range of light conditions—from full-light to filtered-light. They need a bit of time to adjust to a new room; however, once they become adjusted to a space, they are able to reach equilibrium and thrive.


Aloe Vera

As an easy to care for plant, with natural health properties, Aloe Vera has become an incredibly popular houseplant.

Aloe Vera likes dry soil, so I recommend using cactus potting soil mix. Give your Aloe Vera a bit of space, because the mother plant will offset the “babies” from the outer base. One of the most common issues new plant owners run into when trying to care for Aloe Vera is that they overwater the plant.

To harvest leaves from your Aloe Vera, start by selecting mature leaves from the outermost section of the plant. Cut them from as close to the base as possible, but be mindful not to disturb the roots.


Pothos

Pothos is a great home air purifier. It is a long, leafy vine that can reach 40 ft in tropical jungles, but typically taper off at about 6-10 ft when grown in containers.
 
Although it is a vine, Pothos does not cling or climb surfaces. However, it can be gently twined around hooks or trellises to give a clinging appearance and create bold home décor.
 
Pothos are arguably the best indoor plant for busy environments like offices or dorms, where they may be overlooked from time to time. Although not recommended - they do have a reputation for tolerating poor light conditions and erratic watering! Keep your Pothos healthy and strong by placing in bright indirect light and watering when the soil has dried.