House Plants: Why we LOVE them…

At one point or another we have all tried to keep house plants alive. Some of us have succeeded and others weren’t so lucky.

There are so many reason’s why people like to have plants in their homes. It could be because seeing plants alive and green is a huge de-stressor. Plants also make great decorations, and can even be edible of you choose fruits or veggies. Another big reason is they purify the air we breath.

In 1989 NASA did a study on which plants purify the indoor air the best. They began by establishing which chemicals were the top 3 indoor pollutants. Then they selected common house plants and put them in a sealed chamber with the 3 chemicals to see which cleaned up the most parts per million of those toxins within a 24 hour period.

What is Polluting Your Home?

Benzene – Can be found in Glues, paints, furniture wax and detergents.

Formaldehyde – Is in emissions, disinfectants and fixatives, or preservatives in consumer products

Trichloroethylene – In homes undergoing renovation.

Now that we know what are typical pollutants in our homes (especially new builds) we can suggest some plants to help out with that. Keep in mind that you can’t just have one tiny plant to purify your entire house. Statistics show that you need 1 plant (with a pot size of 6-8 inches of diameter) for every 100 sq feet of floor space. That would mean if your room is 12 ft by 15 ft you would need 2 plants!

Gerbera Daisy

Daisy’s can significantly clean the air of Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichlorethylene. In the study NASA conducted in a sealed chamber over a 24 hour period it removed 50% of the Formaldehyde, 67.7% of the Benzene and 35% of the Trichlorooethylene molecules.

Peace Lily

In NASA’s experiment the peace lily was exceptional at removing Benzene (79%) in a sealed chamber over a 24-H period. It also removed 30% of Trichloroethylene in that 24 h period. This is great news because I have one of these!

Ficus

This is a very common plant in a lot of homes. I am sure many of you grew up with one of these in your house. Ficus are fantastic at removing Formaldehyde, in this experiment they measured that it removed 47% of the Formaldehyde in the sealed chamber in a 24 h period, 30% of the Benzene and 10.5% of the Trichlorethylene

We also love plants like Aloe Vera, English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Spider Plants, and Banana trees. I have even dotted my house with some pretty little Kolanchoe.

house plants
A variety of house plants

If you aren’t a real green thumb an air purifier mimics what plants do and is a great solution to cleaning the air in your home.

As Landscapers we love plants and it is quite amazing how long you can keep a house plant around if you meet its lighting and watering requirements. I have had these orange Kolanchoes for years and they keep re-blooming. Instead of cut flowers maybe give the gift of a potted plant this coming Mother’s day!

Post written by : Leah Brakke
Leah is our resident blogger with over 9 years experience in the landscaping industry. She loves to share her knowledge and passion on Whispering Pines’ blog. If you have any questions or topic idea’s you can email her at marketing@wpn.ca

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