Finding the best indoor plants for optimal health.
The phenomenon of healing from plants is attributed to our innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings, also known as biophilia. Many studies have yielded convincing evidence that link daily interactions with nature to positive gains in productivity, increased healing rates, and even enhanced learning comprehension. When many of us are spending more hours indoors, we can use biophilic design to recreate the physical and emotional responses we have to the outdoors. The addition of lush greenery to our indoor environments is one of the most effective ways to help us recuperate from the stress of everyday life. Houseplants aid in biophilic design and also help to purify the air and boost oxygen levels.
Not only will you have a beautiful piece of natural art, houseplants purify the air by naturally removing volatile organic pollutants (pollutant compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility), and boost oxygen levels through photosynthesis.
In the Pothos and heartleaf Philodendron category, these trailing varieties can be grown in lower light conditions and are somewhat forgiving to homeowner neglect. Both of these plants provide attractive trailing growth that displays beautifully on a high shelf or center mantle. Pothos and heartleaf Philodendron are stress-free to maintain, and they filter formaldehyde and benzene from the air while helping to eliminate odors.
In contrast to the trailing plants, the bushy Dracaena has more than 40 different varieties, and most can tolerate some neglect and low light conditions. Many people love Dracaena because its bushy growth adds texture and depth. While they also work well for filtering formaldehyde and benzene, Dracaena also filters trichloroethylene from the air and helps trap dust.
Lastly, Philodendrons fall beautifully into this category. Let’s talk specifically about the popular Monstera deliciosa. These are known for their long, tapering leaves with completely enclosed leaf holes and high customer satisfaction due to their abundant blooms. They require medium to high light conditions, so placing near an east- or west-facing window is the best option for plant growth and health. Monsteras are particularly good for filtering high levels of formaldehyde, which is a common ear, nose, and throat irritant. Monsteras also act as a natural humidifier, which can help keep homes cooler during warm summer months.
To optimize your plants’ purification potential, houseplants need to be kept clean of dust and dirt. A layer of dust on the leaves will block sunlight and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize and filter harmful pollutants. The simplest cleaning method is to gently wipe the leaves with warm water and a soft towel. Alternatively, plants can also be placed in a shower or sink and sprayed down. While cleaning plants, be sure to pick out any debris that may have fallen into the soil and snip any yellow leaves from its stems, as pests love to gather on dying or dead foliage.