Five easy-to-care-for plants (that are good for your health)
My longest surviving plant, a golden pothos, was tragically eaten by a dog, and I'm still not over it. As a biophiliac, I know how rewarding plant-life can be to our homes, not only for their transformative beauty, but for their health benefits as well. There is nothing more magical than seeing the frail sprout of a seed you planted.
Keeping plants in the home helps to purify the air we breathe in every day. The air in your home can actually be more polluted than the air outside, and can result in Sick Building Syndrome.
We've all been in "stuffy" homes and it just doesn't feel good. Protecting your home's air quality is a serious issue, especially since it can wreck havoc on your overall health, including shutting down some of our vital systems. Just like the trees help us outside by producing oxygen, keeping plants in the home helps clean the air by absorbing the CO2 we produce - and a ton of other chemicals we use daily; even the building materials our homes are made of.
Ailments like asthma, allergies and even chronic illnesses can creep up on us, attacking us within our own homes - the place where we're supposed to be safe. It is recommended to have one plant for approximately every 100 square feet in your home, or at least one plant per "room" as a good rule of thumb.
Plants also help to absorb those nasty EMFs that our electronic equipment emit, while providing some natural home remedies. What's not to love? So unless you're already a serious plant parent, your home could probably use more green. Let's bust out those cute pots and get our hands dirty! Below are five easy-to-care-for plants that will quickly become part of the family, and promote good health in your home:
Every pasty-skinned beach-goer knows that aloe vera is the Queen of the Sunburn. It's a saviour for nasty skin irritations and abrasions, without putting any chemicals on your body. Since our skin absorbs up to 70% of what we slap on it, it's important to be mindful not only what we put in our bodies, but what we put on them as well. But I feel like Mrs. Aloe is a double whammy: not only does this plant's gel help wounds, but it also has serious air-cleaning abilities!
It absorbs benzene, the chemical left behind by some harsh cleaners and paints. And while it does love a bright sunny spot, it's very happy and low-maintenance on a sunny kitchen window - the room you're probably using cleaners in the most.
Eucalyptus isn't the most effective plant for preventing house-born illnesses, but it is definitely a great partner for treating them. I keep A LOT of dried eucalyptus in my home, as it has a lot of the benefits (including fresh aroma!) that fresh, living eucalyptus does. It's my second favourite plant (sage will always be number one).
Asthma, congestion, colds and more respond well to eucalyptus, so if you find yourself feeling stuffy inside your home, take your eucalyptus into the shower and breathe in its fresh scent as it absorbs the moisture in the air. You can hang it on your shower head so it doesn't get wet and just feels the moisture, but getting the stems/leaves wet will release more of the fragrance. The fumes will expand through your washroom and into your lungs.
This plant's vapours are very healing and restorative, and since it works even in its dried form, this plant literally has zero maintenance.
All praise the snake plant! I don't call this guy "mother-in-law's tongue" because, ew. I had a snake plant that I SWEAR I didn't even water for two months and it's still going strong. This guy lowers the carbon dioxide in your home and is typically one of the most recommended plants for air purification since it looooves sucking up all kinds of pollutants.
This is the plant to keep in your bedroom and is even sometimes called "the bedroom plant" since it actually releases oxygen at night while you doze in the dream world, the opposite of what other plants do. The snake plant can grow into ginormous towers with barely any effort at all, just as long as they have a large enough pot to accommodate continued growth. (If you want your plant to get bigger, plant him in a bigger pot)
For the best luck possible, and the best health possible, keep a snake plant by each of the bedroom's occupants during sleep time. A little guy sitting on each of your night tables will do.
The spider plant grows really quickly, keeping your interest satiated so you actually feel like you're keeping something alive... a growing plant always keeps me entertained. I love watching them morph! NEW LEAVES! HOW EXCITING! It's also a safe plant for pets, so you don't have to worry about keeping a green toxic item in the house that has the potential to hurt your furry friends.
And cool tidbit: This plant was used on board deep space explorations to help keep the air pure and fresh! It absorbs all kinds of toxins and bodes well in a hanging basket in decent sunlight. It will grow, creep and flower, and keep your home and people breathing easy.
He's a creeper and a keeper, thriving in minimal sunlight so you can place him in those places that beg for a plant despite the lack of window space or sunlight. His vagueness about sunshine makes him super easy to care for.
Ivy is a well-known absorber of formaldehyde, a material found in a lot of the building components our houses are made up of, such as flooring and dyes within the home. It also absorbs mould allergens, making it a good choice for the bathroom where mould can breed from water spills and (unknown) improperly installed bathroom pieces.
And while this plant is great for absorbing the ickiness that your pets can leave behind - like those poopoo particles - it is toxic when consumed, so make sure your cat or dog aren't feasting on ivy's leaves.